What if someone gave you these statistics:
- Do this and you’ll have 98% rejection rate
- Do this and you’ll have 100% of the people annoyed with you from the beginning
- Do this and you’ll have 100% of the people talking about you – in a VERY bad way
With those kind of statistics, would you do it?
Of course not. Yet many, many people in business still do this every day.
What is it? Cold calling.
Cold calling was once a popular method of getting your foot in the door and building a relationship with a potential customer. Then things started changing – namely the Internet came around. And with social media, we changed the way we find things to buy. And we changed the way we build relationships.
Yet millions of people with old school ideas still believe in old school strategies. Some people pick up the phone and cold call. Some people knock on the door and cold call. Still others drop an email or a post and cold call.
And guess what? None of them work.
Cold call by phone and you’ll likely be hung up on. Cold call in person and you’ll likely be shoved out the door. Cold call online and you’ll likely be banned, deleted, screamed at, or worse, have your information go viral and influence your business in a very BAD way.
What should you do instead?
Build relationships. Your number one potential for more business is the people you already do business with. Send them newsletters and postcards. Visit them. Send them birthday cards. Give a quick phone call of congratulations when you see them in the news. Send gifts. This is your number one source of potential revenue – treat it like its your pot of gold.
Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+. Should you use all social media sites? Only if you can control that much activity in your daily routine. If not, choose one and work it as hard as you can. Go to training on it. Use it every day to build relationships. Advertise with it. Post on it. And do everything you can to build your numbers, exposure and leverage. This is your networking tool – use it
Network locally at high levels. People do business with friends. And the only way to make a lot of friends is network with the same people over and over again. That’s why leads groups (referral groups) and high level executive networking clubs work. Whatever groups you join, get involved. Run for a position – my very first group I became the education coordinator. This allowed me to stand up and give a few minute presentation every meeting to help educate the members – and it gave me high level of exposure for people to begin to build trust.
Speak in public. Every single day there are groups all over your local community that hold meetings and are looking for a presentation. Be the speaker. What does a photographer have to say? You can find angles for anything – a business meeting would love to have a presentation on branding skills, and a moms group would love to hear about building children’s self esteem. Think for a moment and you’re bound to come up with ways to connect photography to a group of select targeted potential clients.
Sign up for a trade show. Having a booth at a trade show can put you in front of many potential buyers. And depending on the trade show, you may even have the opportunity to speak and put on a presentation as well. We’ve done everything from home and garden shows, to children’s shows, to parade of homes. Depending on your angle, think outside of the box and come up with a perfect way to reach out to potential customers.
Give referrals. Have you ever had someone send over a really great referral that turned into a very high paying client? What did you do? Chances are you looked for ways to give back to that referral source. When someone does something great for you, you would love to reciprocate. Which is why giving referrals that are high quality and will turn into above average clients can help you bring in business too.
Create a regular value added message to people around you. Want to know why newsletters are so popular? Because they work. Don’t create something that sells; instead focus in on educating or providing them with useful material they can use immediately.
Remind people of what you do. Just because you know all of your products and services doesn’t mean your referral sources and your customer base does. Choose to highlight different aspects of your business throughout the year, teaching people what is most relevant to them. For instance, if you have a wedding client that got married 6 months ago and finalized their wedding order in the last few weeks, it may be the perfect time to introduce them to your baby portrait plan.