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How to keep in touch with potential customers until they are ready to buy

How to keep in touch with potential customers until they are ready to buy

September 28, 2011 by Sonja Jefferson

Eighty per centIn his article, Why 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales, marketing expert Robert Clay reminds us of the importance of good follow up. His research shows that only two per cent of sales occur at the first meeting; the other 98 per cent will only happen once a certain level of trust has been established.

Incredibly, only 20 per cent of sales leads are ever followed up — that’s a shining pile of potential opportunity lost without a trace. You may be well aware of the power of keeping in contact but it’s often hard to know where to start. After that initial enquiry or sales meeting how exactly do you keep in touch? What information should you send? What tools can you employ to prove that yours is the solution that your prospects need?

Many companies get follow up badly wrong and lose the good will of potential customers in the process. Effective follow up does not mean pushy closing and constant demands for orders or appointments. It takes a different mindset: an ongoing dialogue; gently building rapport and proving your expertise, not bashing down doors.

At the heart of this approach is good content — meaningful, useful communication that helps to build trust in the eyes of your potential customers, keeping you top-of-mind.

Here are five examples of useful content you can use to keep in touch.

  1. Articles: get your expert opinion and ideas down in writing — on the web, in magazines, on blogs (your company blog and/or other well-respected blogs in your field). Write for your customers: write articles that show them how to solve their business problems. Include these in regular newsletters or emails to keep in touch.
  2. Newsletters/e-newsletters: inform and educate your contacts on a regular basis with valuable content — news, views, research and case studies that they’ll find of interest.
  3. Case studies: show how other customers have benefited from the type of approach you’re proposing. These powerful sales tools help you capitalise on past success. They turn your claims into evidence and open the reader’s eyes to what is possible if they work with your company.
  4. Whitepapers: somewhere between an article and an academic paper, these persuasive documents contain useful information and expert opinion, promoting your company as a thought leader and helping solve customer issues.
  5. Third party evidence: send your prospects articles and research by others that back up your proposed approach and lend weight to your argument.

This is where good marketing can really help sales.

Develop customer-focused, helpful information that customers will find valuable. Your sales teams can use these to keep contact with potential customers until they are ready to buy. This is the most powerful way to build trust and warm up the relationship with your prospects: prove your worth and boost sales success.

Sonja Jefferson is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and owner of Valuable Content Ltd.

Read Robert Clay’s article, Why 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales, and join the debate by adding your own comments.

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