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 Marketing Challenge: Do You Stalk Customers?

By Meryl K. Evans and Hank Stroll

We’ve all been there---you send an email or leave a voicemail for a customer/potential client and never hear back. So you try again…and again. You don’t want to be a pest, but why aren’t they responding? Did they receive the message or are they deliberately ignoring you?

Where do you draw the line to avoid becoming a "stalker" or "that crazy person who keeps calling and emailing?"

Try the following suggestions to encourage prospects to call you back:
• Give the person a reason to call back.
• Customize the message.
• Try a different approach.

The first thing you want to accomplish is to make sure you will get a response. You want this customer/potential client to return your phone call or answer your email. To do this, go for short and enticing. Adam, a consultant with MonteConsult, provides the following tips:

“Give a hook for prospects to call back, with enough info for them to be interested and curious. But don't give too much so they make a decision not talk to you about the idea. Script out your message and practice with a colleague or yourself. Say exactly what the prospect should want to hear and the call's purpose and goal”.

Another source suggests keeping the message to about 30 seconds or 75 words. Ask a question that gets prospects thinking after they listen to your message.
The second approach deals with customizing the message to fit your customer/potential client. First, do your research before calling anyone. Don't just call people because they're all in the XYZ business. Researching helps identify prospects' needs so you can focus on those when contacting them.
Next, make sure you're calling the right person. The prospect may be too high or too low on the ladder or may be the wrong prospect completely. After you’re confident you’ve made contact with the right person, ask them about themselves. A source suggests the line, "I'd like to learn more about your situation."

Something about the words, "your situation" gets people talking. Most important: Be friendly! You want this person to feel comfortable when talking to you. Also, they’ll be more enticed to forge a business relationship with someone they like.
Finally, vary your approach tactics. Sales pros rarely rely on phone calls alone. They also add emails and direct mail to their prospecting toolbox. Anna Barcelos, director of marketing with OpenBOX Technologies, recommends a follow-up email:
“If you have their email addresses, follow up with an email after the call. Some people are phone communicators, and others are email communicators (that's me). Persistent sales reps who communicate the value they can provide me, always win in my book. Persistence helps too; and remember, don't ever take it personally. People are so overwhelmingly busy these days; it's tough to keep track of phone calls.”

Remember to avoid the whole "Did you get my email/fax/voice mail?" fixation when doing the following up. That gets the conversation off on the wrong foot. Give prospects a reason to follow up by customizing the message and using various communication methods, since everyone has different preferences.
 
---Source: Hank Stroll (Hank@InternetVIZ.com) is publisher at InternetVIZ. Meryl Evans (meryl@InternetVIZ.com) is the content maven behind meryl.net.

 
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