First rule in business, get the prospect’s contact information, and if they turn into a client, get a whole lot more! I am continually amazed at how many design professionals I speak with who don’t have a database. Without one you are unable to:
- Stay in touch with clients.
- Remind prospects of your services.
- Announce regular specials.
- Take surveys.
- Market, market, market.
It is vital that for every contact you make you get as much information as you can. If you are at a networking event, take notes on the back of business cards and follow up with a short note that mentions what you spoke of and how you can be of service. Put them in your database and tag them for follow up in a couple of weeks, a month or longer depending on the fit.
In the case of a client, you need to gather a lot of information upfront before you ever meet. I have a seven page questionnaire they fill out before I ever meet them. If for any reason we don’t do business together (it has never happened) this information is still kept on file. It includes not only name, address, and phone contact, but the names and ages of their children and in-depth lifestyle information.
This isn’t about being able to send birthday cards! It is about being able to build a meaningful and valuable database that enables you to target clients with:
- specific marketing opportunities
- notify them of rate changes
- inform them of new lines you are carrying
- keep them abreast of trends in the industry
- create multiple ways to touch them
- remind them of your services and your talent
Direct mail takes seven hits to be effective; advertising is similar often requiring 4-7 impressions before action is taken. Both methods can require a serious financial investment. So if you are able to make personal (must use their name in every correspondence piece, never generic) contact you are way ahead. It must be regular and frequent to stand out in the sea of information we are all inundated with in today’s Information Age!
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