Over the past few weeks I’ve been asking the direct question to people I meet:
“Do you keep in touch with your contacts?”
Obviously I’m not talking about the people you are actively working with, it is all the others:
- Enquirers where they don’t do business at the time
- Sales contacts & prospects you have met/talked to
- Contacts from networking
- Referrals from customers and other contacts
Have a think:
“What has happened to all the business cards you have been given
over the life of your business?”
Admittedly, some people do send stuff to their target contacts but this is normally limited to offers and promotions. They were always going for the short term sale rather than aiming to really engage with their contacts to build the relationships, understanding and trust that foster the strong, long-lasting business opportunities.
Here are a couple of diverse examples that I have been given by clients recently. Each shows how really engaging with your contacts can have real, profitable impact:
Example 1 – The Industrial Equipment Supplier
We have been working with this client for several years.
BSA designed, set up and implemented an e-newsletter programme to keep our client in touch with their contacts, giving them news, advice, company developments, case studies, testimonials etc, all intended to demonstrate how our client is an expert in their field of industrial equipment.
While the e-newsletters were never intended to sell directly, they all clearly demonstrate that if someone was looking for the products and services offered by our client, then our client was a good potential supplier and worth talking to.
Although the e-newsletters consistently elicit response, a recent reply shows just what can happen:
Our client received an email which was simply a ‘reply’ to an e-newsletter that had been sent over 2 years previously (who says email is transient!). the email was an enquiry with a value in excess of £100,000. By itself this represents a return on marketing investment of over 1500% – and then all the other business is free!
Example 2 – The Business Consultant
Not such a big company as the first example (but at least as important for the owner)
We have been working with this client for many years and send out e-newsletters, only 3 or 4 times each year but enough for him to keep in touch with his list of around 150 key contacts and say ‘hello‘.
By regularly ‘tapping his contacts on the shoulder’ they remember him and the work he does. The emails we send regularly produce business opportunities. Last week was no exception. He emailed me saying there had been service developments he wanted to let his contact know about. We put together his marketing email, he approved it and we sent it – all within a couple of days.
He started to see the response almost immediately with a series of replies which he expects to yield a number of opportunities – this time the ROI will be around 1200%
Stop Press, June 2014: Latest indicators show current ROI is at 4500% with additional potential for next year
In both of these examples the clients were making the most of who they know
Do you make the most of who you know? There is good business in it!