These are enormous differences between marketing and nurturing your dream clients. Marketing isn’t personal. It does nothing to indicate to your dream client that you personally care about helping them to achieve the outcomes that will improve their business results.
Nurturing is personal.
A Short Story About Business Cards
I was pursuing a dream client that had rock solid relationships with other companies in my space. I was locked out. I had identified eleven people within the organization that were either decision-makers or stakeholders of some kind.
One by one, I called each of the contacts I had identified to try to get in. And one by one, each of them rejected me. They were loyal to their partners.
Fortunately, I was blessed to be born with a few assets that serve you well in sales and in life. The first is being too dim to know exactly how inadequate you may be for the tasks that you are undertaking, which allows you to pursue big dreams and goals (this dream client was one of them). The second attribute is a dogged persistence that, when coupled with an oversized optimistic outlook, allowed me to believe that given enough time, I would eventually prevail.
Each and every time my attempts to get in were rejected (and there were dozens), I sent a personal thank you note to the person that I spoke with, thanking for them for sharing their time and information with me. I also attached a business card.
It was a pretty simple pattern: 1). Ask for appointment, 2). Get rejected, 3). Send thank you note and business card. 4.) Repeat
It was month’s later that my dream client’s world was turned upside down. They had an enormous increase in their business, and their demand for the type of service I sold skyrocketed. It wasn’t long before my competitor’s seams started to show through and the dissatisfaction that precedes all opportunities reared it’s ugly head.
A meeting was called to discuss what must be done to improve a rapidly worsening situation, and all of the decision-makers and stakeholders gathered around a table. They needed help, and they need to decide who to call. As it was later described to me by what eventually became my client, that one by one each person at the table started to identify the people that they knew who might be able to help, and one by one, each pulled out my business card.
When I received the call to meet with them, it sounded like this: “We really need some help, and since everyone here knows you, we thought we’d ask if you’d like to come and meet with us.”
I don’t think an email, regardless of the content, is the same as a thank you note. I don’t think that your address block is the same as your business card.
Behind your desk, you have a giant box of business cards. For a long time you have wondered what you were supposed to do with all of those business cards. You are supposed to put them in the hands of all of the people who work at your dream client companies. Better still, put the in the hands of other people attached to something that indicates that you care about them personally.
When you send anything from your nurture toolkit, send your business card with it. Sign your name. Write a personal note. This is sales; it isn’t marketing.
When you speak with your dream client on the telephone—especially if you are rejected—send a thank you note and a business card. When you meet with the contacts and stakeholders three or four levels deep within your dream client’s company (those who have no organizational chart power or authority), send a thank you note and a business card.
Nurture the relationships you need, and make it personal.
What are the differences between nurturing and marketing? What are the outcomes you need from nurturing?
Why isn’t email a substitute for a hand written thank you note and a business card?
Take out your nurture list. How many contacts at each of your dream client companies have a personal communication from you and your business card? How can you double or triple that number?
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Filed under: Sales 3.0