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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Getting seven out of eight right is pretty good

I like seven of the eight suggestions in a recent promotional email from construction marketing guru Henry Goudreau, so will share them here.

Here are eight things you can do to find business in a tough market:
1. Look for new prospects to call. Call on prospects you never thought of calling
before. Get on the phone ... make a deal ... make some money! Stretch your imagination. Go out and generate some positive activity.
2. Spend at least ONE HOUR a day on the phone telephone calling these people. If business is slow, you've got plenty of time on your hands to accomplish this. Start calling people ASAP. There's a huge difference between being busy and being productive. Your assignment is to look for customers. Don't think about it, JUST DO IT!
3. Create a dynamic USP and Elevator Speech. (Editor's note: See this entry on the "Elevator Pitch" from May, 2007.) If your calls are ending in less than 10 seconds, you're doing something wrong. You might not be peaking their interests. Go to Volume Two and review how to develop a great USP and Elevator Speech and learn to ask the right questions.
4. Expect voice mail. That's right, everyone is using it, probably you too. Note the time of this call and try another time either at the beginning or end of the day. Meanwhile, move on to your next call.
5. Expect rejection. No one is waiting for you to call so they can buy your services. Expect rejection. Your job is to find the decision maker who makes the decisions, qualify them and develop them.
6. Ask great questions. Don't talk about yourself learn to ask the questions that will reveal to you what it is they really want. Try to discover their problems and what they need.
7. Identify decision makers. Only work with decision makers, find a way to get around the gatekeepers.
8. Always ask for commitments. A commitment is a commitment, big or small. Ask for the deal or ask for another appointment face-to-face so you can get more information that will lead you to "wet ink." Always ask for a commitment.

The only point I disagree with is his observation: "Only work with decision makers, find a way to get around the gatekeepers." In the sense of not trying to actually 'pitch' to gatekeepers, I agree, but the fact is, gatekeepers are there for a reason -- and they are actually decision-makers of the highest order since they control access. Ignoring that, or regarding the person (or voice mail) that screens calls or 'denies access' is inviting perpetual frustration.

Respecting their role, and having a clear understanding of your purpose and the legitimate basis of communicating with the 'boss' is vital -- if you don't have it; if you are just banging out the calls with a rote process and not much thought -- you will (especially in a smaller market) quickly burn up your leads and end up with little to show for your efforts.

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