Last week, we mentioned prospects and said that we would discuss how appreciation marketing would apply to them. How can you show appreciation to someone to whom you have never sold anything?
A prospect is someone who has never been your customer. When you first met them, send them a note to thank them for the contact and let them know that you want to meet them and get to know them better. Then, follow up with them and meet them for a chat to establish a relationship. They should remember you when you contact them; they are not a cold call; they are someone who should recognize you if you call them to meet. Then you meet them, exchange some information, and establish a networking relationship. Afterwards, you send them a thank you for the meeting and information, reassure them that you value the relationship, and indicate that you will be glad to exchange any referrals that may come forth.
This is the important aspect of dealing with prospects. You treat them with respect and courtesy. You follow up with them each step of the way and establish the relationship in a non-threatening manner. Then you follow up some more, referring any prospects that you can to them, and thanking them for any referrals that they send to you. We have previously discussed referrals from our customers. These referrals from prospects are more valuable. If a prospect provides you with lots of referrals, it means that the prospect trusts you. People who trust you will eventually do business with you. If you can legally, depending on your industry, reward anyone who gives you a referral, but at the very least thank them, in private and in public, for their referral. Why do you thank them? It shows appreciation for their trust in you. Why do you do it in private? Your referring party needs the pat on the head. Why do you do it in public? It shows everyone else what a professional networking partner the referring party is and what a professional you are to gain the trust of the referring party. This thanking process applies equally to referrals from customers.
Once at a networking meeting, I said that I would not pressure anyone at the meeting to be my customer. I said that I wanted their referrals; I wanted all their family members, their neighbors, their banker, their grocer, their mechanic, their co-workers, everybody in their lives. The intent was that if they referred all those people to me, they would trust me enough to do business with me themselves. I eventually obtained orders from almost the entire group. Why? I gained their trust, I showed my appreciation for their referrals, and I did what I said that I would do, provide the best customer service that was possible.
Previously, we discussed how to show continuing appreciation for both current customers and customers that you have lost. Prospects are no different. You cannot thank them for their order since they have not placed one with you yet. You do thank them for the first contact, you thank them for meeting again, you thank them for their referrals, and you thank them for the continuing relationship. In addition, birthdays, anniversaries, and other holidays/events give you additional opportunities to show appreciation for the relationship. It is this type of marketing that will establish you with your prospects as a professional in the business world. Of course, when they do become customers, you already know how to show appreciation for their business.
Appreciation Marketing is an important aspect to your business dealings. While it may not always gain you a customer, it will help you retain your relationship with your prospects, the same prospects who should be a source of valuable referrals. Use appreciation marketing to foster a relationship with everyone that you meet. You never know who will be a source of business for you.
Again, if you have questions or comments, please email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691, so we can discuss them. I will honor your information as I honor all my networking partners’ comments and questions. As always, thank you for your interest and input.