If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, I am sure by now you have figured out that I am a bit old-fashioned when it comes to marketing and sales. I still believe that the most powerful tool and asset we have are the personal relationships we build with our prospects and customers. I also think that direct human interaction is the most effective means of building those relationships. When I say direct human interaction, I mean having an actual conversation with another person. Ideally, the discussion will happen in person. But a good phone call is almost as good.
To that end, I want to share with you a technique I’ve used over the years that has been very effective. No matter how you market and how effective you are in sales, you end up with prospects who tell you “no.” Most companies forget about the no’s and move on to the next prospect. That is a huge mistake. Just because a person says no today doesn’t mean it’s no forever. Taking all of your no prospects and putting them into a nurturing program will often lead to a “yes” in the future.
Of course, the modern way to do that is to send emails or have someone follow you on social media. I’m not saying those techniques don’t work, but they are very impersonal. What is a lot more personal is a handwritten thank you note to every prospect that says no. Yes, I am talking about old-fashioned snail-mail. Literally, sit down and write out a note, sign it, put it in an envelope and mail it with an actual live stamp. Whenever I have done this in the past, I would say that two to three of every ten no’s turned into yeses. Often, one of those came pretty quickly, and others over time.
An even more effective follow-up system is to physically mail them something regularly.
How often you mail depends on the sales cycle of your product. If your products get bought all the time, your prospects can be touched more often. On the other hand, if you have something that gets bought once every five years, you would obviously space out your touches in larger intervals.
Why physical mail? Simply because we are overwhelmed with digital marketing coming at us from all angles. We get so much that most of it gets deleted without even being reviewed. A physical piece of mail in the mailbox stands out. Even if the prospect throws it away, you have gotten their attention for at least the time it takes for them to review it and decide they want to throw it away.
But there’s an even more important reason. No one else does it. A rare salesperson sends a thank you note for an order or maybe for an appointment, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a thank you note from a salesperson who I have blown off. If I were to get one, especially if that person hit me more than once, I guarantee I will remember them in the future.
If you insist on using digital technology for follow-up, that is great. Keep doing it. But why not add an aspect of actual physical mail and handwritten thank you notes to your system? Take a couple of minutes to sit down and scratch out a note to everyone who tells you no, and you will be amazed at the fruit that comes out of that effort.