Using a Contact List Profitably - Part Two
by Nancy Roebke, Profnet, Inc.
- The more personal the contact, the greater the chances of a sale. That means that an in-person interview has a better success rate than a mass mailing.
- The in-person interview. As the name suggests, this is something that is done in-person where you have the advantages of eye contact, voice inflection and body language. Although, very time consuming, it is extremely effective in generating sales. Much has been written about the "presentation", but the main facet should always be finding out what's in it for the client to do business with you. What do they need and what have you got that satisfies that need. This is the basis for ALL sales and I don't see that changing any time in the near future.
- Direct mail. Much has ALSO been written about direct mail. You can expect a 1-3% return from direct mail. A lot depends on how targeted the mailing list is, how effective the envelope is in getting prospects to open it, how effective the letter is describing the product or service and how competitive the offer is to what the receiver is currently using.
- Call-to-Action pieces. These CAN be distributed by mass mail but are often delivered by hand to individual homes/businesses. These include door hangers, coupons, and flyers. These pieces have an offer that has a limited time to respond, has specific requirements for qualification to take advantage of the offer and/or is otherwise limited in its scope. An effective way to do this is to team up with another business and share client lists. Find a business that offers a complimentary product to yours (you sell houses- they give mortgages; you sell tee shirts, they have a health club) and do a joint offer to bothlists involving both businesses.
- Use your contact list to generate referrals. Each one of the people on your contact lists knows 250 people (according to Reader's Digest). Your contact list is a GOLD MINE of referrals. I currently offer a $50.00 credit to anyone sending me a referral that turns into a client. That amount is offered on a $200.00 sale, so it's a 25% finders fee. It is not always necessary to financially reimburse persons who send you a referral, though. It is ALWAYS necessary to send a THANK YOU. That THANK YOU can be in the form of a finders fee, a discount coupon, or just a simple THANK YOU note. This goes a long way in developing good, strong relationships. Appreciation never goes out of style.
Besides a survey, your contact list can be used to generate sales directly. Some of the following ideas must be done one-on-one and others can be done to large quantities of prospects at a time. They all have varying levels of effectiveness. A general rule of thumb is: