At a minimum, social media, email, and texting are the new phone. They’re both inbound and outbound marketing tools to contact and communicate with sales prospects. Are they always the best phone to use for all contacts? Certainly not, but they do allow you to call more prospects in a day than you’d likely be able to call in a week using a standard phone.
And when you sprinkle in a few phone calls, letters or notecards on top of your digital outreach and finish off with a gentle dose of face-to-face networking you create the perfect sales nurturing recipe that guarantees business development success.
While not an exhaustive list, here are NINE things (digital and non-digital) you can do immediately to improve your ability to stay in touch and ensure you achieve Top of Mind Preference amongst your prospects:
- Make it interesting. “People will take interesting calls,” says David Droga and he’s right. More importantly, they’ll read interesting emails, pay attention to interesting social media messages, and respond to interesting letters. So, when you reach out to touch someone, make sure the content of your conversation/content is valuable to them.
- Follow Through. How many times, after meeting someone online or offline and having an interesting conversation, has that person promised to send you something afterwards and then failed to follow through. But don’t just stop there. Call or email to confirm receipt of whatever you sent and ask if there is anything else they might need. If they do, make a note to send that along too, at a later date. Make this a rinse & repeat formula, especially if you’re sending helpful information, to create a consistent excuse to stay in touch and build additional propinquity.
- Pay Attention. Every day, your contacts share their life with you via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. They’re telling you what is happening in their life, what content they have read and felt important enough to share, or maybe just passing along something they found humorous or thoughtful. Acknowledge it. You don’t need to drop a War & Peace level comment; sometimes, a simple LIKE will do, but let them know you saw them and appreciated whatever they shared.
- Ask Them For a Favor. Yep, I’m suggesting you leverage the old Ben Franklin Effect. But here is the trick. You can't just ask for ANY favor... for the Ben Franklin Effect to take hold, you have to ask for one that’s easy for your sales prospect to deliver but meaningful for you to receive. After all, it's not like you're besties... so look for something they can do for you that will take less than 5 minutes of their time but provide you with something truly beneficial and valuable.
- Show Some Gratitude. Deliver a heartfelt thank you. If possible, call. You can hear the gratitude in a person's voice. And yes, while you can express gratitude in writing, I still think there's something much more powerful about hearing it in a person's voice.
- Send Handwritten Notes. A friend of mine told me that he still subscribes to paper magazines and newspapers so that he can cut out articles and send them along with handwritten notes to prospects, clients, and friends. Human beings are craving connection in a world of marketing automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and mass personalization. But you can't mass produce connection. Unfortunately, it doesn't scale well. And that is why handwritten notes are so impactful and memorable, attached to articles or just as standalone notes.
- Curate Content. Content is the ultimate lead nurturing tool. Maybe you have a stuck lead—someone who has gone radio silent. Instead of blowing up their email and phone with "did, you receive" or "how can I be of service" messages, send them an appropriate piece of content. I do this all the time, and it never ceases to amaze me how often it entices response or action. And the added benefit, this curated content is excellent to send with handwritten notes, following through, making it interesting, etc.
- Create a Sense of Attachment by Becoming Known for Knowledge. Constantly strive to provide help — directly via the suggestions above and indirectly by producing and sharing helpful content that you scatter around your Propinquity Points. In doing so, you’re helping your network/prospects become better at doing what they do. Simultaneously you’re establishing yourself as the “go-to” person for information, help, and connections. That gives everyone a reason to want to stay in touch with you.
- Remember Important Dates. I saved this one for last because it’s obvious. If your CRM doesn’t have fields for birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant milestone dates, add them now. Then set a reminder to reach out on or before those dates to call or send a special note wishing the person well. Heck, go one step further and get creative.
The simple truth is that the art of staying in touch has little to do with technology, channel, or format. Instead, it has everything to do with caring. So care more because that’s truly the art that matters.
This post was originally published on Insight & Information, the weekly sales and marketing blog created by the fine folks at Converse Digital. If you want to learn how to create, engage in, and convert conversations into new clients and customers, give them a call.
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