We live and work in a connected world and global economy. The internet and easy access to communication channels, networking sites and lead generation tools help us connect with strangers to build our sales pipeline. While we may ensure we share emails and messages with all prospects as a sales strategy, the sheer volume of new leads makes us lose track of a few if not most prospects. On the last count, I had a list of more than 2500 relevant connections and almost 60% of those are prospective buyers.
The challenge – After the initial customary greeting and intro, I have not been writing to them quite often. I risk becoming irrelevant to my prospects. Does this sound familiar?
The solution: the 90 / 60 / 30 rule of communication. So how does this sales strategy work?
- The first step is to add all connections and prospects to a list and categorize them. Here we would need to divide all contacts in two sets of categories. First is the type of contact and this would depend on the nature of business and work. For instance, you may categorize them as “prospective client, industry connection, friends and family, vendor etc.” or you may categorize them based on industry, hierarchy, geography etc. This category would help in creating sub-lists for email campaigns. The second category is for the 90 / 60 / 30 rule of communication.
- High Priority contacts and prospective clients would be included in the “30 days category”. Set alerts to ensure that you speak to each of these contacts at least once every 30 days. While they may receive emails as part of the email list, it is important that you manage to create a personal contact by calling them. It is also important to actively follow these contacts on social and business networks. This is what I call “digital stalking”. Keep a track of their birthdays and anniversaries; posts and articles they update, like or share; any relevant company updates; job changes or promotions etc. Such events give us a valid reason to contact them and most if not all would certainly acknowledge.
- The second category of contacts are for the “60 days” category. These would be prospects who do not have an immediate need to buy your products or services; not direct buyers but someone who could refer your services to their network; prospects who would have denied previous sales attempts etc. Along with regular email campaigns, ensure you make a personal call to each of these at least once every 60 days.
- “90 days” is the third category which includes relevant industry connections; executives working in client organizations who are not actively involved in purchase decisions; distributors and brokers and all other connections you feel should receive regular updates about your company, products and services. Schedule a call once every quarter for contacts in this category.
While the suggestion in itself may seem basic, most of us fail to initiate a personal conversation with our connections and prospective clients. Communication is the key to establishing a long term strategic relationship with existing and prospective clients to increase sales opportunities.