Q: I sent information to a company at their request. I keep calling and calling to check on them but they never return my calls. How do I get through to them? They would be such a good customer for us and our products would be good for them. What can I do if they don’t call me back?
A: You’re not alone. This situation presents itself often. The first thing you need to do is: stop calling. I know that sounds counterintuitive but you really must stop calling. We can only guess at their reasons for not calling you back, but right now, it’s time for a different strategy.
Here are three steps I recommend you try over the course of three weeks. Don’t rush through and do them all at once. Patience is indeed a sales virtue. It’s important to wait a week between each step. You want to present yourself—and your company—as thoughtful, polite and professional.
Using your smart phone or the camera on your computer, shoot a brief personalized video. Keep this short and to the point. After you shoot the video upload it to your private YouTube channel. Then copy the link and embed the video into an email message to your prospect. Let’s pretend I’m shooting a video to reach out to ACME Tour Company. Here’s an example of a mock script:
“Hi Joe Buyer. I’m Meilee Anderson, a sales and marketing consultant at Brighter Side Marketing. Our team has 15 years of experience in sales and marketing specifically in the tourism industry. We studied ACME Tour Company online and love what you do! We know we can effectively and efficiently tell your story to your target audience to increase sales. To learn more about how we accomplish results for our clients check out brightersidemarketing.com/testimonials. And for a no pressure, no obligation quote please give us a call at (206) 422-1270. I hope to hear from you soon.”
• Introduce yourself and make sure you use the prospective buyer’s name so they know you created this video just for them.
• Make sure you have decent lighting and your background doesn’t distract from your message.
• Tell them what’s in it for them. Why should they connect with you? Are you going to save their company time, money or give them (or their customers) a better experience?
• Make sure your video privacy settings are marked PRIVATE. This video is exclusively for your prospect, and not to be viewed by the general public.
• Post this video anywhere publicly. Do not share it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
• You may be tempted to make this a 30-minute sales pitch but do not make this video longer than 3 minutes.
• Mention how many times you called or mention you’ve been trying to get in touch with them.
• Let the video’s thumbnail be automatically selected on a section of video with your mouth frozen open or your face in an awkward position.
• Do not follow up with this prospect right away. Wait a week, and then check your YouTube channel to see if the video has been viewed. Since you didn’t share this video and you labeled the video settings private, any views you see displayed will be attributed to your prospective buyer watching the video. I often find a prospect shared the video with other people in their company, so it’s not uncommon for me to see multiple views. Just think: anyone can call and leave a message but very few will take the time to shoot a personalized video . . . Now it’s time for the next step.
Look up your prospective buyer on LinkedIn. Search to see if they publish any articles. If so, be sure to click the “follow” button. Read an article and leave a good comment. Avoid leaving a mediocre comment such as “Nice article.” You want to stand out from the crowd and show your depth, while “engaging” with the author (and leaving a lasting impression). Try something like this: “Great article. I particularly enjoyed the section on upcoming trends in human resources. Good insights!” It is still short and sweet, but it is a specific compliment an author will appreciate. If you don’t see any articles or a blog written by your buyer, look at the end of the profile page to see who they follow. Look for any industry groups they participate in. You may uncover an industry forum page where conversation is taking place that might be of interest to your buyer. When you have something of value to add you can pipe up and participate in meaningful dialogue.
Don’t become discouraged if you can’t find articles or a blog. Be sure to look up the company profile, too, and study any articles they have published on their corporate page. You may find helpful information that will give you something specific you can follow up with later. In the process of studying the company you could also learn the person you’ve been trying to reach might not be the decision maker. Doing your homework on the company is a valuable exercise.
Go old school. Take a few minutes to write a handwritten note and mail it to your prospect. Ideally you use branded stationary but if you don’t have any corporate notecards use a blank notecard. Think about how often you receive a handwritten notecard in the mail. Everyone gets their fair share of bills and junk-mail but a personal handwritten note is rare. You want to stand out from the crowd in a good way. Polite, professional and consistent attempts to connect with a prospective buyer will help you build a presence and eventually rapport.
DO: Jot down a few sentences as neatly as you can write and include your business card.
DON’T: Send a full-blown sales kit. No brochure or fancy flyers.
Stay tuned, in my next article I’ll share additional steps to continue reaching out to your prospective client.