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A Missed Opportunity: When Not To Pursue A Prospect

 

There are times in our business when we drop the ball and miss an opportunity.  It’s happened to us all for one reason or another. It’s certainly happened to me, multiple times.

Recently I offered an opportunity to a young entrepreneur I met at a speed networking event. She was experiencing high churn with her customers.

As a massage therapist, she would go above and beyond to please her customers. Offering discounts and special gifts to her first-time customers was a common practice and yet, very few would return for a second visit.

The massage therapist spent a lot of time and energy promoting her business and she wasn’t gaining the momentum and security of serving regular clients.

Ouch!!!

It’s hard work to drum up new business without referrals or word of mouth buzz. And to have to do this work repeatedly month in and month out, well that’s…. hell, pure hell.

As the young lady told her story, I could see the pain in her body language. The way she’d fidget in her seat and the tone of her voice told me her need was urgent.

I shared how I help small business owners with the massage therapist and her posture changed instantly. We both felt the magnetic pull of an opportunity.

She leaned in and asked a few questions as we exchanged contact info.  I responded to the young massage therapist and let her know I’ll follow up with her to schedule a one on one.

No matter how hot the lead may seem, there’s always some (poo emoji) in the game which can turn an easy sale into a non -starter.

Since our meeting happened on a Friday afternoon, I sent and email before the weekend was out.

No response.

I waited a few days, then I called and left a voicemail.

No response

This went on for two weeks. Each time I emailed or left a voice message,

Then one day, I called and she answered the phone.

“Hi, it’s Tamara from the speed networking event from 2 weeks ag……”

“Hey, you’re breaking up and I’m in Walgreens, can I call you back later today?” She cut me off with such precision that I was caught off guard.

“Sure.” I replied.

She hung up right away.

As embarrassed as I felt, I was still determined. I’ll wait until early evening for her call and if she doesn’t call back, I’ll reach out. I waited until early evening and I texted her.

The massage therapist responded to the text with, “Hi, I’m doing well, how are you? I’m sorry but today is my day off.”

WHAT?

Your day off?

It’s a WEDNESDAY!!!  What self-respecting entrepreneur would respond to a business call like that?  All types of thoughts raced through my mind. The old Tamara would have totally flipped and snapped at her, but of course I didn’t.

My reply was, “No worries, have a great evening.”

I quickly searched for her contact information and threw it away. I made sure there was no chance in hell I’d keep trying to connect with her.

The young lady’s response was a red flag that she wasn’t ready to work with me.

Some believe I missed out on a sale and a year ago, I would have continued nurturing her. Yet, I’ve matured as a business owner since then and have realized 2 game changing facts.

  • There are people searching for my services than I can serve.
  • Having a scarcity mentality only produces more scarcity.

Being selective in who we engage with is just as important in business as in our personal lives. I have to evaluate and validate the resources I use if I want to stay in business. It takes valuable resources to convert prospects into clients so qualifying prospects is a necessity.

How do you decide which prospects to pursue and who to drop?

 

 

 

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What To Do With The Business Cards You Collect

Your networking efforts paid off handsomely and now you have a collection of business cards. Now what? What do you do with all the business cards you have?

Some entrepreneurs avoid business card pile-up by entering new contacts into their database in a timely manner. Others let new contacts sit their desks for days, growing in mass and invade precious work space.

As disorganization adds to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, this is the last thing you want to do.

When you do nothing with your new contacts, you forget who you spoke with or why you have their card, the value of the contact is lost and with it possible opportunities.

This happens to all of us at first, but once you know better, you do better.

Getting your contacts organized is the first step in creating a follow-up process that produces consistent revenue.

Whether you hate data entry, or don’t have a CRM, designing a simple process to organize your contacts is possible.

Below is a 5 -step process I use to organize business cards and follow-up with new contacts.

  1. Rank each business card from 1 to 10. (during or immediately after event)

Cards ranked 1-4 are cold leads, there’s little to no connection, or you don’t know how the connection would benefit.  Rankings 5-7 are warm leads, there’s opportunity for collaboration or partnership, or they’re a great connection to someone in your network. Business cards ranked 8-10 are hot leads, great potential for ideal strategic partner, and great connection. Ranking your business cards helps to prioritize your follow up.  It’s important to connect with everyone who gave you a business card but make sure you contact those with high ranking cards first. 

  1. Right a word or phrase to recall the conversation. (during or immediately after event)

This is a common tip because IT WORKS. Write something that will jog your memory when entering notes into your CRM later. Recall information about the conversation as to why you should stay connected. This could be business or personal.

  1. Follow up in 24-48hrs

Send a quick email or voicemail summarizing your encounter and make your request.   Your request could be confirming the next step, asking for a one on one, sending useful information and links, making introductions, etc. Be clear about why you’re contacting them and what want.

  1. Discard business cards of those who don’t respond.

After 3 attempts to connect, if there’s no response, recycle the card. As your CRM is premium real estate, storing dead leads can cost extra time and resources. For instance, CRM systems have plans based on features and the amount of contacts you have, and your SEO rating and be negatively impacted based on email open rates. You can decide on the number of attempts and the frequency of touch points before eliminating contacts but do remove them from your contact list if non-responsive. This will save time and money.

  1. Enter contacts & notes in database/CRM

Once you receive a response, add them to your database/ CRM. Add notes and add tags such as warm list, hot list, etc. Following this method will reduce data entry time and build a high quality database of leads.

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
Are you looking for ways to stay top of mind?
Contact Us to discuss your CRM needs!
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How To Nurture Your Network

We all know the importance of having a strong network.  In fact, Porter Gale’s famous quote, “your network is your net worth,” sums it up nicely. Yet the problem lies in how to keep the connections going.

Sure, it’s simple to have the first coffee meeting with someone you’ve met from an event, but it’s the structure the first meeting helps determine how the relationship plays outs.

Building your network can be intimidating and awkward initially, and like every new skill, it takes repetition to master. So here is a simple process I use to build and nurture my network.

  1. During your first meeting ask a lot of questions. Being interested in the other person means you’re asking questions about them. Small talk helps to loosen things up and build trust. In fact, small talk is vital to learning what drives your new friend. The personal stuff is what matters to us so asking about family and hobbies do more than build rapport. It’s intel. I’ve had people ask me how they can support me and I rarely ever have a definitive answer, but ask me what are my challenges, and well, I can talk for 5 minutes on that. So think about what information you want to learn about that person and have a few questions on hand in case you freeze up or forget.

Hint: Think F.O.R.D Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. Ask questions from each group.

  1. Clarify your intentions for the one on one meeting. Why do you want to meet this person? Are their clients your ideal clients? Are you interested in making a purchase? Do you have possible referrals for them? If you’re interested in meeting with them to pitch your business and it was not agreed upon, you should rethink your meeting. Networking is about exchanging information, developing contacts, exploring collaborations, etc. It’s not about pitching your products unless the other person agrees. If someone agrees to meet for networking reasons and then wants to hear how you can help them, that’s a sales conversation and should be scheduled for a different time. BOOM! Easy follow-up! Actively listen for how you can help them.We often listen to respond and when this happens, we can’t remember what was said. Active listening help you pick up on nonverbal communications and see the full picture your new friend is painting for you.

Hint: Think of the conversation as time of possession. The goal is to all the other person to talk more than you. If you’re doing the majority of the talking, either you’re pitching, or you turn into a prospect.

  1. Agree on the next steps before parting ways.By the end of your meeting there should be 1 or 2 action items to exchange. This could be an introduction, the start of a collaboration, cross marketing, sending information, becoming accountability partners, etc. If they are interested in hearing more about your solution, the next step is to schedule a discovery meeting/ sales conversation.The next steps should be mutually agreed on and restated before you part ways.

Hint:If you’re being genuine about wanting to help the other person succeed, it’ll come through so don’t worry about being salesy. Just have a desire to help. This alone can add value.

  1. Send an email follow-up/ Thank you card. A super easy way to increase business and strengthen connections with your new friend is sending thank you notes. Yes, it’s old school and I’m sure you’ve heard of this. If you haven’t tried it, or fell off the wagon, YOU’RE MISSING OUT! Sending a personalized thank you via snail mail is uplifting. It also keeps you top of mind, which is what you want. With most advertisement switched to online marketing, most of us only receive bills in the mail. There have been times I sent a thank you notes to new friends and the saw them at an event. They were happy to see me everything time and appreciative of the note. It’s an easy way to build influence in a non-salesy way.  Sending follow up emails is also a common way to keep the connection going, especially to reiterate action steps. You can and should do both.

Hint:Send the follow up email right away then send the thank you note the following week.

  1. Check in with your new friend.Once the first connect happens and action items are completed, it’s time to check in with your new friend. Ask them about a project they’re working on, their latest accomplishment, follow up on an introduction you made, etc. Then share what you’ve been working on. You can send a message via email, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. If you start to wonder about your friend, then that’s a perfect time to check in. If you’re concerned about how often you check in, you can do it once a month. The frequency will vary depending on the relationship and what is being worked on.
  2. If you made several attempts to reached out over a period of time without a response, it’s time to move on. Not everyone you meet with will be a good fit or will be responsive to your communications. It happens to us all. I have a follow up system I use where I reach out 6 to 8 times over 2 months. If I don’t hear from them after the 8th communication, I’ll move their contact to my cold list.I’ll reach out to them less and use different methods to communicate. If they’re still non-responsive after 6 months, I’ll archive them. Whatever your follow-up sequence is, including a cutoff point is essential to keeping your CRM current and functional.   Your CRM is the heart of your business and if it’s cluttered with people who aren’t helping you do business, then your CRM isn’t of much value. Keep your CRM healthy and clean by clearing out those contacts who you’ve haven’t heard from in years.

Hint:Your follow-up system should include 2-3 communication methods. Using email as the only way you contact your people grows stale and sends the message you don’t really care.

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
Are you looking for ways to stay top of mind?
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Peer Networking: Creating Strategic Alliances

What does Mark Zuckerberg, Issa Rae, & Bill Gates have in common?

I’ll give you a hint: think strategic networking…

That’s right, they all collaborated with their peers to grow their business. When well established companies would not give them the time of day, their peers offered them opportunities.

Horizontal networking is a powerful strategy most business owners over look.

I was certainly guilty of this and questioned this strategy.

What do two entrepreneurs in the same stage of business have to offer each other?

Asking this question opened the flood gates of creative answers and transformed how I network.

Just like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Issa Rae transformed their businesses, you can too.

True BOSS ladies know the value of horizontal networking and use the power of peer groups to grow their business.

Here are my top 5 ways to leverage your peer group.

  1. Honest feedback.  It’s a huge advantage to have a group who’ll test your branding, products, and marketing.  A large company would pay thousands of dollars to a marketing research company for the feedback your peer group would gladly provide for free.
  2. Support.  It’s challenging talking about business to loved ones. Often times, they’re tired of hearing about it, they don’t understand, or it’s boring to them.  No matter if it’s to celebrate or vent, your peer group will understand your victories and pain. They can also help plot your next move.
  3. Project Opportunities. Peers are more willing to include you in proposals  for joint opportunities such as workshops, webinars creations, conferences etc. If your business offers adjacent services/ or products, it’s a win-win situation for you, peers and clients.
  4. Marketing. Marketing opportunities are abundant in peer groups.  Guest blogging, podcast interviews, and event sharing are just a few inexpensive ways peers help one another gain visibility.
  5. Build life-long relationships. Experiencing collective emotional highs and lows build strong, lasting bonds.  It’s amazing fun making money with people you enjoy being with.

Building strategic alliances with your peers can make all the difference in the world when growing your business.

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
Are you looking for ways to stay top of mind?
Contact Us for your client engagement blueprint!
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