If you’re not growing, you’re dying, as the saying goes. Prospecting is your lifeblood.
We rely on multiple channels to generate referrals, leads and sales: networking, business referrals, social media, events, web-based lead nurture programs, Direct Response media, both print and email, etc. Each has its own response rate* (defined below) and program costs. The key in this numbers game is to make each channel as effective as possible.
For example, your networking costs have a low direct cost (membership dues and beverage costs) and a high response rate. The challenge is the time it takes to meet and follow up with these quality leads. How many potential prospects can you talk to in a day? How do you expand your reach?
Direct Response is a highly scalable program, allowing you to reach large numbers of prospects, with targeted messages based on their needs. Ex., young families have different investment or insurance needs than 50+ year old prospects.
How do you get the most out of Direct Response? There are several key principles to keep in mind. We’ll touch on few here.
- As when face-to-face with a prospect or business referral, speak in a language that addresses your prospect’s needs, not your product or services “features”. What problem can you solve for your prospect?
- Provide a sense of urgency. To send out a message about your product, without any compelling reason to act quickly, is really just an expensive branding message: you need a response deadline.
- We are emotional animals. We don’t act NOW because the facts are compelling. We act (respond, inquire, buy) because something has triggered one of our key emotions: Fear, Anger, Greed, sense of Exclusivity.
- Your mail piece must be utterly clear about what your prospect should do next. Don’t make him guess. Go to your website? Call you? Is your website or phone number prominently printed on the piece, at least 3 times?
- What does your prospect get by acting quickly? A discount? An additional add-on product or service? Yes, you MUST provide an OFFER to get attention and incentive to act quickly.
- Free names you got from somewhere aren’t necessarily qualified prospects. Don’t waste print or postage on free names and expect them to work as well as more qualified prospects.
Like Networking or Referrals, Direct Mail has its own sales performance metrics. The better crafted your Direct Mail strategy is, the more profitable it will be.
*Response Rate refers to how many individuals you will contact before getting one person to raise their hand and buy, or inquire. Good Direct Mail has about a 1% Response Rate (one out of every 100 prospects may respond). Good Networking, or Business Referrals, may yield one positive response out of every ten prospects. You want to optimize your reach in all your contact channels, for optimum prospecting performance.