Targeting the right clients for your business is one of the most crucial aspects of efficient marketing and sales. We all want to go after the biggest fish, those with the most money to spend and the biggest imprint in the industry, but you should be able to focus your efforts on the most likely and beneficial candidates. In our previous post, we talked about the importance of targeting big clients and choosing the ones that are most likely to utilize your services or buy your products.
Once you have identified the best targets, it is time to move forward with your first contact. Although it should be a well-known element of any successful business, the importance of a good first impression cannot be overstated. While clients may not immediately decide to give you their business after a first contact, they may certainly choose not to do so if you make a bad impression.
5 Steps to a Good First Impression
The following are some basic, fundamental steps in making the right impression to move things to the next stage.
- Send out an introductory email that is unique and tailored specifically to pique the interest of the big client. It should be quick and concise, simply introducing your business and briefly describing what you can do for them.
- After 2-3 days, follow up the email with your first phone call. While you may not want to push too hard on the initial call, there is no reason not to try and set up a sales meeting right away.
- Immediately after the call, send a follow-up email thanking the client for his/her time, quickly recapping the call and offering more details into the specific benefits of your company as they relate to the client’s needs. The email should also invite them to schedule a time for a sales presentation.
- Wait 3-5 more days and call again. This call should not only be used as a pitch to provide more benefits for the client but also as an opportunity to develop a relationship with him/her. Be more focused and more determined to set up a presentation during this call.
- If the previous contacts have not secured a meeting, do not be discouraged. Wait a week or so and then repeat the steps listed above, continuing to build a rapport and develop a relationship with the potential client. Try new techniques and offer to stop by and introduce yourself in person if the first cycle of steps has not been effective.
The Right Person for the Job
After the first impression has been made, it is time to move on to the real meat of the process and begin your sales efforts in earnest. But there is no one size fits all approach to sales, and certain clients may respond better to different styles and approaches. With that being said, it is crucial that you choose the right man or woman for the job when sending someone to pitch a big client. While there are countless types of salespeople, many of them will fit into one of three main categories:
- The Professor: This person makes his or her sales based largely upon the vast amount of knowledge and the deep understanding of the product/service that can be shared with the client. The professor is most effective with logical, realistic clients who take an analytical approach to making deals.
- The Buddy: This is the person with a natural ability to bond and form connections with anyone. More than just being a friendly salesman or someone with whom clients would like to play golf, the buddy can build personal relationships in a way that is meaningful and lasting for your clients.
- The Closer: For the fast-moving, no-nonsense clients, the closer can provide all the relevant information without wasting any unnecessary time or breath. This person is generally more aggressive than the other types and makes his/her pitches in a concise, direct and authoritative manner.
Of course, most salespeople will exhibit characteristics of more than one type, but you usually know which of your people fall into which category. Understanding the needs of the client and knowing who within the company has the purchasing power will help you match the client to the right salesperson.
In today’s fast-paced world of instant information, on-demand entertainment and personalized marketing, every business must take advantage of every opportunity for marketing and publicity. There are countless possibilities for this, from television commercials and radio ads to social media campaigns and viral marketing, but small businesses and startups are generally at a disadvantage. For one thing, they are small and have small marketing budgets; and secondly, they likely have a small audience and little brand recognition.
This means that small businesses must be even more eager to take advantage of marketing opportunities– particularly those that come with a small price tag. Enter, public relations, the medium which allows startups and small businesses to reach a large audience and significantly increase branding, for free.
To be specific, public relations is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company, organization or person. Of course, there are a number of ways in which this favorable image can be cultivated, and you must identify the best ways to use this practice for your own business. Speaking generally, there are three key areas to public relations on which a small business can capitalize for marketing purposes:
Developing and implementing a strategy that includes all of these areas will greatly increase the efficiency of your public relations efforts.
This may seem obvious, but the first step to successful public relations for small business is getting noticed. In fact, the entire goal of your public relations policy should revolve around continuously getting noticed in a good way, and for good reasons. This means that your strategies (in both public relations and marketing) should always be based on providing value to your target audience.
The best way to begin is through a press release. For PR rookies, here is a step-by-step guide for successfully creating and distributing an effective press release:
- Create a press release announcing something special or significant about your company. Remember that it must be an attention-grabber that is relevant to the needs of your market.
- Summarize and compress the release into a single hook or angle that is most likely to be noticed by the media and your customers. This will be your headline.
- Develop your press release in a professional format, on your letterhead. It should include:
- Important information
- Supporting facts and figures
- Your contact details
- Send your release to each media outlet you choose with an opening letter that will be interesting and specific to each media person who receives it.
Remember that your public relations strategy should include all media, especially those that are most relevant to your industry, market or business. A diversified strategy should include:
- Social media
- Any other media outlets that your audience may view, read or listen to