One of my clients recently asked me the following question...
"So I have the new prospects and I send them 'Good to meet you' cards. In three months I send them another card ... then what? How do I develop and build relationships with busy interior designers so they'll think of me for decorative painting?"
Building Relationships Takes Dedication and Frequency
In marketing, it's all about frequency. Sending out a "good to meet you card" is great, but waiting three months is way too long. By that time, your prospect has probably already forgotten about you.
The 3-10x Rule
Did you know that you need to hit your prospects at least 3 to 10 times in order to get their attention and move them to action? Maybe even more. So, it's crucial that you set up a marketing system that allows you to repeatedly follow-up with your prospects at least this many times.
There's a reason when someone subscribes to my email list that they receive three email messages within the first 7 days. And, there's a reason I take the time to write and distribute this Ezine every single week.
It's because I know that even if my subscribers don't read every issue, I am reminding them every single week that I am here, sharing valuable information and letting them know I am available to help them with their marketing, if they are ready for some help.
You Must Provide Value
In my experience, the best way to build relationships is by providing value. While sending the occasional postcard or promotional letter may serve to remind your prospects about your product or service, it won't do much to build a relationship with them.
You must provide them with valuable information. Maybe my subscriber who wrote in with the question about following up could send out weekly, biweekly or monthly tips on decorating. Maybe it's a quick painting or color tip or trend. Or, maybe it's educational information about decorative painting.
Your Prospects Buy When They're Ready, Not When You Are
It is important to remember that just because you are ready to sell your product or service, does not mean your prospect is ready to buy it. They'll buy when THEY are ready or have an imminent need for what you are offering. Until that time, your job is to provide value, educate them and remind them you are there and available whenever they are ready.
Don't Worry About Being A Pest
If you are providing value, you really don't have to worry about following up too often. If however, you are only following up to ask for the sale, you'll become a pest relatively quickly.
And regardless, you will lose some prospects along the way. People will no longer be interested in what you offer or they may not want to hear from you. But consider this ... if they don't want to hear from you, odds are they weren't going to buy from you either. If they ask to be removed from your list, they're just helping you out by improving the quality of your list.
So don't take it personally. Remember it's just business.
It Takes Time ... Sometimes a LONG Time
I have had people on my list for over a year before they decide to purchase anything. And, I know that some people on my list may never make a purchase. That's why having an automated way to follow up (like a weekly Ezine) is so important. Because it doesn't take any more effort on my part to follow up with 10 people or 10,000 people.
Your Marketing Step
Take a look at your follow-up system this week. How often are you following up with your prospects? Do you have a system that ensures they hear from you repeatedly? Is that system automated? Are you providing value?
Make sure you are not stopping after one, two or even three contacts. Create a long-term follow-up system that provides lots of value to your prospects and start building relationships for the long haul.
It may take some time to "prime the pump" as they say, but before long this process will start delivering paying clients to you on a consistent basis.