NO MATTER what your business, you need two things – a happy, loyal customer base and a steady stream of new prospects. Direct Selling Education Foundation offers some great suggestions in its free e-book, Business Owners’ Road Map To Success.
Although DSEF focuses on companies that offer direct-selling opportunities for consultants, the information in the e-book is relevant to just about any small business. Here are the foundation’s tips for turning warm leads into hot prospects:
• Create a “warm market list” of everyone you can think of who might be interested in the products or services you are selling.
• Narrow it down to a “most likely” list of those who could purchase from you immediately.
• Invite the members of your “most likely” list to a small party, BBQ, open house, etc. Don’t try to sell them anything; just make the event about introducing your business to them. Ask if you can set a follow-up appointment.
Many work-from-home direct-selling businesses carry with them the unsavory reputation that a “party” is just another name for “captive social pressure-sales pitch”. Make sure your invitees understand that this will not be the case with you.
• Make the follow-up appointments and keep narrowing down your list to the most supportive and interested potential customers. These are the people who not only will be most likely to buy from you but also to refer new business to you.
• Offer excellent customer service consistently, especially to your loyal and repeat customers.
• Use social media to connect with people on your “warm market list” and to continue to build relationships. Also use social media to offer solutions, tips and useful information related to your products or services.
Think of your social-media networks as a subtle way to introduce new products and services, not as e-commerce. Don’t let your social-media communications digress down to plain old advertising. It turns people off and they will delete you.
• Meet prospects for coffee or breakfast to discuss your business.
• Keep your appointments social, friendly and pressure-free. Ask questions and show people how your products or services can help meet their needs or solve their problems. Even if they are not interested for themselves, they may refer other potential customers to you.
• Always have your appointment book handy so you can book follow-ups whenever you meet a potential customer, even at social and family gatherings. If you like to use a digital device, make sure you know it backwards and forwards so that you are not stumbling when collecting contact information.
• Don’t leave requests for information open-ended; note contact information and follow up promptly.
• Involve yourself in organizations and causes that are important to your warm market list.
• Keep track of everyone you meet and use the quantity of your contacts and prospects to grow your business. You will encounter many a “no” along the way but stay positive and keep connecting, networking and making appointments.
For more tips from DSEF, download its free e-book at dsef.org or like the organization on Facebook at facebook.com/TheDSEF.
Jordan Rzad is the senior director responsible for internet marketing at Houston Better Business Bureau.