On any given day someone will have a problem that you can fix, but may not be in the right frame of mind to engage with you. Regularly remind prospects you exist so they think of you when ready with a contact program. Regular, relevant communication is key to converting prospects and growing your existing client base.

What do I mean by a contact program? It’s an action plan to move a prospect through the sales cycle or build customer lifetime value – extending tenure or increasing spend. Any number of activities can be classified as a contact – an email, invitation to an event, or just a coffee, if you need inspiration I’ve included some ideas below.

Whatever the method, quality is the key and I’m talking here about quality communications and quality contacts. It’s pointless to have a huge database of contacts either not willing or able to buy from you. Nor is it worthwhile keeping in contact with prospects or clients who are not a good ‘fit’ for your firm. Here are some tips for building a quality contact program:

  1. Have a clear understanding of your target market and what defines the ‘right’ client for you – essential so you don’t waste time.
  2. Ensure you have a clear set of messages tailored to key segments in your target market (large, medium, small businesses, industry types, owners, however you choose to segment your database.)
  3. The foundations of your marketing strategy need to be in place before you start reaching out, a clear service offering, website, marketing automation or customer relationship management system, backed by a team to support the marketing process. Don’t overengineer it, but ensure that you have the ‘basics’ in place.
  4. Whatever your key message, it should be authentic, memorable and unique, backed with clear evidence of how you are going to make a difference. If you can, make it personal.
  5. Be patient, a quality contact program takes time.
  6. Think about why you are communicating and what you want the prospect or client to do as a result i.e. have a clear call to action.
  7. Measure and adjust your approach based on the results, how many conversions resulted from an activity? Did you move a prospect along the sales cycle? Did you upsell an existing client? Make sure you do more of what works and stop wasting time of what doesn’t.
  8. If you are using a database, it should be accurate, segmented, spam compliant and able to generate reports.

Here are some contact ideas that have worked for us:

  1. Buy a book (that you have read) and write inside the cover and reference a page. The contact will think of you every time they glance at the bookshelf.
  2. Whether social or commercial, sending out invitations, reminders and follow ups to events is great excuse to keep in contact.
  3. Invite contacts to a webinar, if they don’t attend you can still share the content with them later.
  4. Create a short video on a relevant topic.
  5. Email contacts about an opportunity or prospective client for them.
  6. Share an article, blog or information about best practise or client success stories.
  7. Speak at association or industry events.
  8. Ask for a ‘research meeting’ with a leader in a field to discuss trends and issues, even if this doesn’t lead to a direct sale, chances are you’ll get information or even referrals.

Don’t forget to convert…

When our call to action results in an enquiry, we send a personalised email, tracked by our CRM detailing our service offerings with an offer of a 20- minute discussion about the prospects’ objectives.

After the call, we invite prospects to our training days so they can see us ‘in action’ and provide personal tours of the online system. We may also discuss another clients’ success. At the end of the day, don’t forget to ask for a signature on your contract!

In summary the key tenets of contact program success for us are:

  1. A great foundation of targeted, authentic messaging.
  2. Marketing basics in place.
  3. Select the right contact methods that work for you.
  4. Measure what works, and what doesn’t.
  5. Follow up, convert and close (or upsell if an existing client).

Good luck!