How many networking events, trade shows, seminars, and conferences did you attend last year? How many business cards did you collect? The people you introduced yourself to at an event, the business cards collected in a trade show fish bowl, or anyone you’ve had one brief contact with, are warm leads. You now have a connection with these people. The trick is to turn that connection into a sale. Attending a networking event, a trade show or conference are all great ways to meet people and gather leads, but if you don’t turn up the heat, you’ll never close the sale. Don’t wait for those contacts to call you. Here are a few tips to help you pick up the phone and start dialing!
The day after an event, take time to organize and capture the new names you have collected on your prospect list. Add the names, contact information, where you met them, and any pertinent information about them to a spreadsheet, if you don’t have a more sophisticated database management system. Highlight the “hottest” leads in red and call them first. Use the sort feature so you can differentiate your leads in call priority (i.e. A, B, C).
The biggest difference in calling a cold contact – someone who has never heard from you and is not expecting your call – and a warm one is in the introduction. Once you’ve made your way past the gatekeepers (be sure to relay the affinity you have with that prospect) and have gotten through to the person who handed you the business card, remind them of the connection. Try something like this:
“Hi, I’m Amanda Puppo from MarketReach. You stopped by our booth last week at the XYZ event.”
Your introduction should remind the person of how you’ve met and establish the connection between you. Once you’ve made the link, engage your prospect with questions to make him or her an active participant in the dialogue. Create the opportunity for positive responses while getting the information you need.
Stress your company’s unique advantages. How will you save time, increase profits, and reduce costs? Help your prospect to see how you can help provide them with solutions.
Even though the call was warm, if you don’t ask for the appointment you won’t get it. Try this approach:
“Do you have a calendar in front of you? Take a look at what looks good for you over the next week or two.”
Whether or not you get the appointment make sure that you follow-up. One way to make a great impression is to tell your prospects that you will email a recap of the phone call within the next 30 minutes. And do it! It’s not as hard as it sounds. Create a basic template that explains your talking points. Now, before you send that follow-up email spend a few minutes adding some personal comments that refer specifically to the phone call into the template. One of the quickest, easiest and best ways to impress a prospect is by following through on that first phone call. Here’s a tip: if you use Outlook and you want to find all the prospects you sent your recap to, just do a Search of a familiar word you would use every time in the Subject line (such as “recap”). Each month, you can easily see who your prospects were by this search. If they did not become your client, you can easily forward them the same “recap” and ask them if they’ve thought any more about your proposal.
Really want to impress your prospect? Take a few extra minutes and mail a handwritten note thanking them for their time. Why? Because no one does this anymore. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and the impression will go a long way. Go to any office supply store or card shop and pick up a box of simple thank you notes. Spend two minutes writing out the note, include a business card, pop on a stamp and put it in the mail. You can send this note prior to your appointment with this prospect or after you’ve spoken to them. It’s a simple, easy and thoughtful way to get noticed!