Archive for direct marketing

Hey…Where’d You Go?

column-movedSometimes my dog gets lonely. He’s 12 and set in his ways.

This is challenging on days when I’m out for the entire day.

Enter doggy daycare (yes, there is such a thing), where he spends his time with a pack of 80 furry knuckleheads.

He’s happy and safe there, meaning I can tend to business.

So imagine my surprise when I drove up last week to find the daycare facility had vanished. A crew was overhauling the building for a new tenant. A small sign directed me to a location two miles away where the daycare providers had moved to.

The new location was buried at the far end of a long parking lot. Though I eventually found it, my unanticipated detour forced a 15-minute delay for a client meeting.

The facility no doubt updated their Facebook page with their new address…only I rarely visit that page.

So how was I to know they’d moved? And how difficult would it have been for the daycare staff to send me an email with this news?

A bizarre concept, right? You’re changing location and tell people where to find you so they can continue doing business with you.

Failing to tell anyone (with the possible exception of those on-site the week of the move) guarantees these guys will lose business.

At some point that new tenant will move into the old location and the signage pointing to the new daycare facility will disappear.

When that happens, anyone visiting the old location will probably assume the daycare facility is defunct and find a new service provider.

Every business has a house list of current, past, and prospective customers. Over 30 years I’ve learned the most profitable organizations regularly communicate with everyone on that list.

Communications (newsletters, promotions, emails, texts, calls, postcards, etc.) should vary by audience.

Because whether you’re sharing buying opportunities, factoids, stories, or case histories, customers must be reminded why they need to have you in their lives.

Recognizing that out of sight is out of mind, regular customer outreach ensures customers think of you often and remember to buy from you.

Regular customer contact will grow your business over time, as well as helping you to weather disruptions like moving the business to a new location.

Are you reading the room properly?

crowdMy bride and I recently borrowed a friend’s timeshare.

The location was nice and the facilities adequate, yet we knew there’s be a sales pitch the moment we announced we weren’t owners.

We weren’t disappointed.

Checking in, we heard of the many benefits of ownership. Then we were offered a free breakfast, an AMEX gift card, and a vacation.

Were we seeking a timeshare, it might have been tempting.

Sadly, neither of us gets vast amounts of vacation. Both of us dedicating a half-day to a hard core sales pitch was unacceptable.

Plus we don’t travel enough to make timeshare ownership a logical investment. It was the wrong opportunity for us.

Searching for their next sales commission, the staff never left us alone.

We encountered more pitches, videos in the lobby, and daily fliers under our door.

They misread their audience, and early on crossed the fine line between friendly persuasion and obnoxious hard sell. At that moment I crossed the line from pleasant “No, thank you” to a snarling “Get OUT of my face!”

It’s possible your organization also has potential customers who don’t respond to your sales pitch.

Regardless of your industry, repeating your message in hopes of making the sale is a given.

But it’s also important to recognize the wisdom my father provided when he advised me that you can’t do business with everybody.

Sales prospects might not like your offering, pricing, quality, service, or location. Or you just may not be a good fit for their lifestyle.

Learn to read the room and understand your customers’ needs. Talk with them about their objections or concerns to see if there’s a way to adjust what you’re selling to what they’re potentially buying.

Then, as part of your sales funnel, adjust your filter to recognize some people should just be written off.

And remember: Just as “No” means “NO!” in the dating world, so too should it carry significant weight in sales scenarios.

Because regardless of the reason someone doesn’t want to work with you, showing respect for their decision will help you avoid alienating them.

Then, should the seeds you planted during the conversation ever actually take root, they’ll think positively of you and potentially become a live sales prospect.