I often advise entrepreneurs to contact prospects, but sometimes there’s some resistance. Here’s one such case (and a big lesson behind it):
The second I saw his hand fly up, I knew he was upset…
I had been invited to present a workshop to a group of estate planning attorneys – many who admitted they almost never marketed their firms.
Multiple times during my talk, I paused and encouraged attendees to ask questions.
One topic of concern for the group was the frequency for contacting prospects and clients. Of course, I stressed the importance of keeping consistent contact, and most importantly, delivering value each time.
I even suggested the attorneys maintain contact using email at least (gasp!) once a week. In addition, I shared a simple strategy for carrying out this task.
That’s when a lawyer sitting in the back of the room started squirming in his seat. He was obviously frustrated and eager to share his thoughts.
So when I called on him, he explained that there’s no way he could contact anyone more than maybe once a month.
“They would get upset with me!” he said.
Now, I must admit – I hear this concern almost every time I present a workshop. And I believe the worry comes from one widespread problem…
Most business owners and entrepreneurs view marketing as only a promotional vehicle. As a result, they only contact prospects and clients for reasons that benefit their bottom line.
When you make this mistake and only pitch your products or services, it’s natural for people to start ignoring your marketing messages. After all, what you’re saying isn’t focused on them or the outcome they desire.
Remember, your marketing must build relationships before it can drive profits.
So let me give you a couple ideas to consider…
Stories are one way to demonstrate value for anything you sell. In addition, they add entertainment and a memorable component to your marketing.
For example, Forbes ran an article about a collector who paid $300 for an old hockey jersey. He later learned it was worn by Mark Messier during the New York Rangers’ 1993-94 championship season.
He shared the story and sold the jersey at auction for $8,365.
The story created an additional $8,065 in value!
In 2009, a couple of guys in New York ran an unusual experiment. Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn bought cheap trinkets at a thrift shop and hired writers to create stories about each item.
They then posted the objects on eBay and shared the stories in the description sections. The results were astounding…
A 99-cent snow globe brought in $59. A 25-cent egg whisk collected $30. Even a 59-cent flip-flop frame sold for $21.80.
In all, 100 items that cost $128.74 sold for $3,612.51.
The fact is, stories drive emotional value. People pay attention to stories.
So, if you’re not telling stories in your marketing, you’re overlooking opportunities to add significance to what you sell.
I’m a firm believer in giving away two types content as a way to attract your best prospects…
- Content that targets a specific audience (your ideal buyers)
- Content that proves your expertise
In both cases, you deliver educational material that puts your prospects closer to their desired outcome.
Of course, your free content should then lead prospects to a specific action or the step(s) you want them to take next. This is critical because it can lead to paid products or services.
You see, once you establish credibility and prove your desire to help, people are more likely to pay for access to you, tailored advice, or insider knowledge.
To get prospects to this point, my favorite strategy (which I’ve mentioned here before) is what I describe as “the question that creates instant authority.”
You simply focus your marketing message on specific outcomes you provide, instead of what you do (i.e. your occupation or product/service).
The fact is, authority is granted to those who prove their capabilities, so create content around the outcome you want to be known for… And contact prospects with that info.
For instance, don’t be just another real estate agent. Create content that proves you’re the real estate agent who quickly sells seven-figure waterfront homes in a specific community.
A couple days ago, I came across a website for an auction company. It was immediately clear they didn’t just peddle the typical knick-knacks, toys, and antiques you find at many auction houses.
They were also a go-to source for selling luxury homes.
Here’s how I came to that conclusion:
My guess is that the company makes much larger commissions on luxury homes than the usual auction items you might find in an attic or garage. As such, the free guide makes complete sense.
After all, why not market the products or services that bring in the biggest bucks?
Listen, you’re not limited to one outcome when you market this way, so pick problems that attract your most beneficial clients.
By Tom Trush