This is a little disclaimer that I will be adding to the beginning of every post in this ten part series so new readers that jump in mid way will understand the premise for these posts. If you have been following through the entire series, you can skip the following paragraph to get to the latest lesson.
If you are just joining us, I am writing a series of 10 basic principles that will help you increase your conversion rate of turning potential prospects into paying customers. If you missed that post, then I recommend that you click on the title, “10 Basic Principles for Turning Your Prospects into Clients” and give it a read before going on.
One other thing that I MUST stress before we move forward with this second post of the series is this series only focuses on “good” prospects. This becomes even more important for this post as you can end up wasting valuable time building a relationship with a potential prospect over an extended period of time only to get to that point of purchase and then find out that it has all been for naught.
Let’s say it three times together, “I will pre-qualify my prospects. I will pre-qualify my prospects. I will pre-qualify my prospects.”
Take a deep breath and let it settle in.
OK, now on with my top 5 reasons for staying in touch with long-term prospects. Although I will focus this lesson on the hypothetical premise that you are a copywriter (like I am), you can insert your own profession and still have the reasons apply.
1. A prospect’s long-term requirement may change, expediting the need your services. Let’s say that your potential customer claims that they have a job for writing new copy for a re-launch of their site, but that they aren’t going to get started for six months. I recommend that you ping the prospect with some questions and interesting ideas roughly once a month until they are ready.
Executive Management may step in and decide that they want the new site up in 2 months to coincide with the launch of a new product. Since you have been staying in touch and submitting great ideas, you stand a far greater chance for winning the contract than the copywriter that said, “Get in touch with me when you are ready.”
2. They may have a new project come up in the mean time. Although the contract for the new web site is still 6 months away, by building a rapport you may uncover current needs for sales letters, email blasts, tradeshow materials, etc. that you can get to work on right away.
It benefits a business to build a rapport with one outsourcing provider per discipline because it minimizes the amount of time to upload you with information about their business and market. You will be quicker writing copy for the new site and minimize the prospects time if you get started on some smaller projects first.
3. They may turn you on to another prospect while you wait. I refer people whenever I can as many people do. A prospect often will appreciate the fact that you take an interest in their business now for a future project. They are more likely to refer you to a friend that has an immediate need than if all they know about you is your number.
4. Your contact may leave for a new company and have a new opportunity. You have been working with the Marketing Director at Company 123 who just took a job as the VP of Marketing at Company XYZ. Since you know this person through staying in touch, you now have two potential opportunities.
Obviously, you ask your contact what opportunities they have at Company XYZ along with whom you should speak with back at Company 123 so you can capture that previous contract. Plus, now that your contact moved on, they may be more willing to give you the inside scoop about their previous employer’s influencers and decision makers as well as real budgets for choosing a copywriter.
5. You never know when the work will dry up. I think many of us can relate to this over the last year. As I mentioned in previous posts, I used to own a fine dining establishment that was the highest awarded restaurant in the region. The Holidays were a great time to pick up parties and make extra profit to carry us through some of the slower, following months.
Although last November was a little weaker than the same month the previous year, from December of ’07 to December of ’08 we saw a 35% decrease in business predominately from losing most of our Christmas parties. Business fell off of a cliff. Had we established a better rapport with some of the other businesses that we met in the past, we would have had a better chance of creating a fest to meet their budget.
Stay tuned for the next installment titled, “Get Them on the Phone”.
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide