Did you ever think that having imaginary friends could help you succeed in business? Well, all those years you spent talking to yourself are about to pay off.
It's time to bring your imaginary friends out of early retirement because they are going to help you break down the barriers that stifle most attempts at new-client development. As my kid brother still says, even though he's now in his 30s, it's going to pay off "big time." Here's how.
Let's start with a simple analysis of the steps we generally take when embarking on a quest for a new customer or affiliate:
To review, step 1 is pretty easy. It just requires some quiet time with a pencil and paper to think about your product and figure out who would buy such a product or who sells similar items. One of the best suggestions I've heard for coming up with a prospective client list is the following:
Alternatively, you can use an email address extractor program as long as it captures the Web site URL and a description of the Web site. You need to see what the Web sites are about, rather than just randomly contacting each site.
Once you've put a list together of prospective clients, you have two tempting choices:
In addition to the probability of receiving a lot of flames and spam threats from angry recipients of your unexpected email, the odds of success here are not tremendously in your favor, even if you think you are being smart by mail merging their Web sites into the email so the prospects think it is a "personal" letter.
So now you have your list of companies to contact. What do you do next? I do not recommend sending an email. Instead, you should call each company. Who do you call? Well, MagMall's sales development professionals average about 10 to 15 calls to each company to get the right person on the phone -- smaller companies should be easier to reach. So just start with the main office line and shoot for the affiliate manager, the head of purchasing, or the CFO.
Assuming that you get through all the red tape and the assistants and you get the right person on the phone, you've got to overcome three barriers to success that usually stop most lead generators right in their tracks:
Enter your imaginary friend, Shelby, the master of the secret survey technique.
What has Shelby accomplished? When the survey arrives -- hopefully no more than five business days later -- it highlights two elements from a longer list of surveyed items: the prospect's immediate needs and MagMall as one of a few recommended solutions to those needs.
Is this deceptive? Maybe. But even if it is initially deceptive, the bottom line is that it's worth it if a deal happens. If a deal doesn't happen, all the prospect lost was two minutes of time taking a survey that would have covered the same ground as a sales call.
Does this imaginary friend system work? Probably. Is it worth the effort? Definitely.
In keeping with the tradition of getting as much you can for as little money as you can afford, I would submit that this is one of the most affordable guerilla marketing techniques around. Good luck with your creativity. By the way, please share the results of your surveys or forward surveys you've used. I want to keep track of how readers do. If you want some sample surveys, drop me a note.
By the way, a nice byproduct of the secret survey is that you can actually tally the results of all the questions and turn it into a nice article to submit to a magazine or post on your own Web site.
Shalom from Israel, where this article was written.
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March 19, 2014