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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Marketing funnel

Conventional sales practice requires you to process many "leads" before you find the gem of real business.

Not-very-good salespeople (or not terribly effective businesses) then instruct their sales representatives to "make the numbers" by calling and calling, emailing and emailing, and knocking and knocking on doors. A few thrive within this cold approach to business development -- but most either become drones or burn out and move on to something better, quickly.

Undoubtedly, this approach to finding business actually is effective, to a point. Since it is so distasteful and frustrating to encounter rejection, few bother to go through all the steps necessary to succeed; and since a few people may actually wish your service, if you are lucky, a few of your spam emails or nuisance phone calls may actually respond (and, in the case of spam, because it is "cheap" to send it, you can theoretically just turn up the volume.

Of course, these practices are exactly why most people build up huge defensive walls when they encounter any selling initiative; especially the clients you most want to reach -- the ones with more money than time to waste fending off unwanted solicitations.

You may find the "numbers" this way, but can you find the trust to win the commitment and business you need; and what about the negative fall-out from all the people you bother, who are not at all interested in your service (and won't have a favorable first, second or third impression of your business.)

Effective marketers seek to turn these problems on their heads; winning trust in your business to the point that (a) people will call you to initiate the relationship or (b) you are so well respected that when you call (for good reason), your call is accepted with anticipation.

Here, the numbers game is modified, because you don't want to waste marketing dollars and energies on people and organization with no capacity to pay for your architectural, engineering or construction services. You need to focus your marketing energies and resources carefully to build the trust and relationships of the people you really wish to meet. In the next few blogs I'll look at some ways you can achieve that focus.

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