In all of my lectures and consulting projects I teach an original principle that I call Gathering People. Once you have met anyone in your industry that might be of help to you and your business, never lose them. I am talking about everyone here: secretaries, sales people, assistants, anyone who even remotely might talk to a decision-maker. I database a lot of people that you might consider insignificant BUT, my experience has taught me that I attack a business by building all of the allies inside that company at any level that I can. You never know when the boss is going to casually mention your company in front of a secretary or an employee who is going to say something really positive about your business and swing the deal your way. That is one reason that I always get a home address and phone whenever possible of every employee at a prospective client that I come in contact with. Even if they are no longer employed by that company, I can get in touch with them. I can't tell you how many people were so grateful that I kept in touch with them after they left a company that they took my company to their new employer when they landed.
It is not uncommon, when I am in the office, for me to make more than 100 telephone contacts in a single day. I do what I call "Telephone Touches" A "Telephone Touch" is when I am blitzing the database, simply making as many short customer contacts as I can. Most of these calls last less than two minutes (unless I get a bite). The idea is to talk to as many customers as I can every day, every week, every month. Just a casual conversation that usually starts out like this:
"Hey Jennifer, James Ziegler. Listen I just called up to see how your business is doing. I really didn't have any agenda for this call, just wanted to let you know I hadn't forgotten about you. Have you been getting my newsletter? I hope my people are following up with you ? Great! By the way have you checked out my new website? Fantastic, thank you, we did a lot of work on it. Thanks. Listen, I've only got a minute but I wanted to say hello. Is there anything I can do for you? Okay. Glad you got that deal. I'll call back soon."
A Telephone Blitz is not an active sales call but it does generate a lot of business because the people feel the concern and the human aspect comes into play. Remember, I travel more than 250 days-a-year while I am running a business that has six employees and more than one and one-half million dollars a year in revenues.
When I talk to a person on the telephone, I am looking at their database information on the screen in front of me. First of all, I know exactly when I last spoke to them -- it's on the screen in my ACT program. More importantly, I know what we talked about from the brief notes I am looking at. I know their birthday, their anniversary, when their kid graduates from high-school, their wife or husband's name, and anything else they mentioned to me in previous conversations. Because, when I am talking to a client I am making notes of everything important that pops up in innocent conversations.
"Hey Deborah, how long have you and Fred been married ? Really. I have an anniversary coming up next month, December 8th. Yours is August 12th. Really?"
When that client told me that her anniversary was August 12th , I immediately made a note of it in the database and they will receive a card from me every year. My computer will always remind me.
"Your son graduates from Wolfson High School in June of 99. Really?"
Hmmmm. Wonder if that kid will receive something from my company? If they said they want me to call them back on a certain day about a certain subject, they will receive a call on that day at the exact time I said I would call and I will remember exactly what we discussed last time we spoke. My databased program in ACT reminded to do that.
"Hello John, this is Jim Ziegler, If you'll remember we spoke back on October 15th about sending some of your managers to my seminar in Atlanta and you asked me to call you back sometime in the first week of December. As I recall you were thinking about sending John Jenkins and April Johnson. Let's go ahead and do it? By the way, did that deal ever come through for you with the ACME corporation?" or "By the way John, did your son, Jason, get that scholarship to State?" or "Listen Susan, last time we spoke, you told me that your production was up 30% after your managers returned from my seminar and started using some of these techniques. Would you mind sending me a testimonial letter about the successes you've had using my programs?"
Using the Databased System
We send out newsletters and thousands of flyers every month. It is important that you use a lot of pictures, articles and human interest items as well as industry news in your newsletters. My theory has always been to keep your information in front of the client and as many people in their organization as possible. I firmly believe that some of my biggest deals were closed because I had cultivated friendships with secretaries, receptionists, and clerical people that many businessmen ignore. When I mail into a company that mailing piece sometimes goes to many people at many levels. ( see Gather People )
Building the Client List
Originally, we'd been getting our client data lists from a company called American Business Lists out of Omaha, Nebraska. There are literally dozens of companies out there that sell mailing labels and client lists, even contact names. I also contact associations and organizations when I am targeting a professional group. I can always get the information to build my database. Although my company now has several websites, I don't look at the websites as sales producers. BUT I do consider them to be extensions of my advertising message. Every business card, every correspondence, every newsletter, even my letterhead now has the website addresses on them displayed in bold print. As the Internet grows in acceptance, I'll be there ahead of the rest.
The secret of DataBasing your clients is to keep a high-profile, constant contact. Remember, I have been incorporated for eleven years now, and; I have a reputation in my industry for being able to pick up a phone and get more corporate presidents and principal decision-makers to get on the phone and talk to me than literally anyone in my business. My calls are rarely screened, receptionists and secretaries actually help get me through. I hope this short article gives you insight into the philosophy that made it happen. Read it again and be sure you understand the fundamental human principles and psychology I am using here. For further information check out: http://www.zieglerdynamics.com.