Marketing success is largely dependent on your communication skills. This can be tricky because everyone communicates slightly differently and you can never quite tell if someone is a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic learner. So to play it safe and cover all your bases, here is a shortcut that will touch each of those learning methods and allow you to hit more home runs with your prospects and clients.
Tell Them! The first step in any marketing plan is telling your prospect what you do. If you’ve done your homework you know clearly who your target is, what your best prospect looks like. If not, well then you will be telling a lot more people about what you do, with whom you do it, and how you do it! I recommend doing your homework as a clear target is always easier to hit than one that is out of focus. The hard part is that we often suffer the illusion that it is obvious what we do and everyone already knows it. In fact, often few know clearly what you do and the depth of the service you offer, so you must be comfortable talking about it.
Now, I didn’t say dump on them about it, or bore them with it, but create a couple of short illustrative success stories around clients that share the before they worked with you and the result of working with you. Stories are remembered far better than facts and figures. Make it colorful, richly detailed, and entertaining if at all possible (and it is almost always possible unless you are a physician or mortician.)
Show Them! Got a portfolio? Got press clippings? Got a media kit? Got articles? Got a book? Whatever you have put it in a presentation format online (more cost effective and portable) and offline (a book) so you have it ready to share. This is a step beyond just TELLING and goes into actually SHOWING then what you can do. If your career track doesn’t lend itself to graphics, consider articles or papers you’ve authored, a book you’ve written, or even an online rave review site (or leather bound album) sharing photos of happy clients with testimonials about your work. There is nothing more powerful than third party credibility. Oh and the best time to get these comments isn’t weeks, months or years later, but right as you wrap up or even in the middle of working on a project or job.
Get rave reviews when the client’s enthusiasm is still high and they aren’t in the “punch list” phase. And this phase isn’t limited to design professionals but applies to many service industry professionals, there is always a time when the client reviews our work and sometimes we need to address challenges or concerns. That isn’t when you want their comments!
Follow Up with Them! I have more small business owners share with me that they put a bid on a job and never heard anything further. They don’t tell me they didn’t get it; instead they say they never found out, they never followed up! Don’t assume that it is the prospects job to let you know, be proactive. Whenever you submit a bid or proposal always let the recipient know specifically when you will follow up, and if you get no reply to email, for goodness sake pick up the phone! It is in your best interest first and foremost to get the job.
Years ago, when I was working in hotel purchasing, I had an interview with Opryland Hotel. I thought it went well, but the recruiter came back to me and said that while they liked me and I was a good fit, the man who interviewed me couldn’t tell if I wanted the job!! YIKES, can you imagine someone not clear that I was excited about the opportunity? I cleared that up and got the job. Your prospect may be thinking the same of you when you fail to follow up. Remember ASK, ASK, ASK.
Your comments and feedback are always invited and welcome!