I often like to compare courting new customers to the courtship many of us undertook many years ago while courting our spouses. And while they are very different kinds of relationships, they are relationships none the less. So let’s take a look at courting new customers, and how you might court your spouse given today’s communication tools in a B2B environment.
Communication: a good place to start, right? I mean, to build any type of relationship there has to be communication…talking, writing, typing, reading, listening, hearing. Without it, what’s the point. And it has to be two-way, right? Who wants to listen all the time? No one, unless you’re being paid $100 an hour as a therapist.
A personal sales call is like a personal visit to your potential mate. They’re nice, and it’s the most personal type of “touchpoint,” so it’s the one we favor the most. But like your potential mate, show up daily, unannounced, and you’re going to lose favor, and fast! But you want that relationship, badly. The question is how do you stay on her/his mind without annoying the living hell out of the person. Well, guess what? In today’s multi-media, social media driven world, there are a plethora of channels to stay on her/his mind without becoming a creeper.
Send an email. An occasional email letting your prospect know “what’s new” without blathering on about yourself (selling) is a nice touch and lets them know you’re on their mind. You can do the same using Twitter or other social media to either replace or alternate with email.
Supplement that with a post card every once in a while (direct mail) with a thoughtful message about something that interests him/her and where they can find access to this (usually from you, of course). After all, not all emails get through or are opened, so supplement this effort with a cost-effective digital media.
Both of these can contain a link to a video showing you doing something cool and saying “wish you were here, we’d be having a blast!” (YouTube).
Maybe if you’re feeling rather adventurous you place an ad in a publication he/she is likely to read saying “hey, I miss you, let’s get together, it’s been too long!
By now you see where I’m going. As a man, I know that my wife, even after 24 years together, likes to get emails from me in the middle of the day, and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that it will mean as much to her that I mentioned her in this blog post. Courting a prospect is really no different. You must mix your media and measure the touches to be sure you’re staying there in the top of her/his mind so that when the time comes and she/he wants a date, guess who’s most likely to get the shot? That’s right! Those that put in the “extra effort.”
So don’t be a “one trick pony” as I call them, using only email, or direct mail, or personal selling to create all the communication. Much of it is far less expensive than personal selling and will greatly enhance your “top of mind awareness” when you (and your sales force) can not be there.