Target Market Your Services
Using Direct Marketing Methods
By Ron S. La Vine, MBA
|In this step-by-step chapter you can learn how to use a proven methodology to develop new clients in your specific target markets. All that is required is your time, quality stationery, postage and a telephone. You may want to add a fax, email, a toll-free voice-mail-pager or web page and I'll explain the benefits of these in a later chapter.||The secret to effective target marketing is to define your "target market" as specifically as you can. Once this is done, the next step is to build a mailing list.|
When marketing my research services, I first examined who I had done business with before. Then I created a target market based on specific criteria or prospect demographics. The ones I find most useful include: a specific industry; company size in terms of annual sales and number of employees; potential budget for training; potential departments who may need training and the geographic location. of where I want to do business.
For example, most of my work comes from the software industry. With over nine years in the industry, I am familiar with the way it operates, the sales training needs of the company departments and the industry nomenclature. Using the demographics of my target market, I've determined I need to locate software companies who have :
Using these criteria, I have found at least 470 companies in my target market. The secret to effective target marketing is to define your "target market" as specifically as you can. Once this is done, the next step is to build a mailing list.
I prefer to build my own list since the information is usually available for free on the web. The secret is to call each company BEFORE you send the letter to determine the specific individual who has a need and the authority to buy your services.
It is most important part of this whole process is to obtain the exact spelling of the prospect's name, title, company name, address (make sure you ask for the room, suite, floor or mail stop), phone and fax numbers. When you call a prospect on the phone, your attention to detail will show you took the time to differentiate yourself from others. After all, how many of us respond seriously to someone who requests our valuable business but misspells our name or address?
There are many ways to locate your buyer. Some of these include contacting:
to find out who is responsible for the company's research needs. The reason why you are calling is to augment their existing sales training or provide sales training services required if none exist.
When writing my initial letter, I like to start out with a question or statement I know will produce a positive response such as:
Would you like your sales representatives to:
Each of these or some variation has been proven effective in producing a positive response. After all, who wouldn't like to know what their competition is up to or how to find new market share or increase their sales?
I follow this sentence with a strong statement such as:
Both clients and attendees say the information from the training is simple, direct and effective. The course is loaded with real life, hands on training, not "blue sky" theory. Our core strength is the ability to present easy-to-learn skill sets which participants actually use on the telephone in front of the class to immediately produce effective results. This validates the fact that the "training works" in their minds and motivates them to enjoy their work over the phone.
You then go on to briefly explain why you are qualified to produce these benefits based upon your experiences. I often insert two or three, testimonials attesting to my ability to produce results such as:
"In August of 1998, I was challenged with Sales Training tasks. The task was two-fold.
First seasoned sales people needed to be re-framed in their sales approach as they were running into road blocks with the tried and true methodology. Second, fresh college graduates need to become productive very quickly with their new sales careers. IntellWorks "hands-on" methodology opened the eyes of seasoned people and gave confidence to the new people.
Seeing the methodology implemented real time made a significant impact. My goals were met with IntellWorks Sales training, and I will use the service again."
Chuck Weir, Vice President
Another Sample Testimonial:
H&W Computer Systems
"I've attended a lot of courses in the past six months and this ranks number one.
On a scale of 1 to 10, this course is an eleven."
Norm Lister, Account Manager
"... You have virtually changed the way I do business on the telephone. I have been using this new approach for only a few weeks, but the training has already paid for itself. The first week ... I not only made a sale right on the phone, the customer also bought several extra modules which almost doubled the purchase price. I do not think I would have effected this sale without your training, and I am certain I would not have obtained the add-ons."
Nancy Greene, Vice President
On-Line Consultant Software
Finally, I finish my letters by letting the prospect know I will take the next step by calling to discuss my valuable confidential services with them next week. At the very bottom of your letter, list your affiliations such as a "Member of the American Society for Training & Development, etc." The idea here is to increase your credibility in your prospect's eyes.
Let me start by asking you a question. If you received an envelope with the address printed on nice linen stationery correctly addressed to you and the sender had used real stamps, with only their personal name and return address, you would open it, wouldn't you?
Of course you would because human beings are creatures of curiosity and as long as you don't tip your hand by using cheap stationery, mailing labels, bulk postage or a company name in your return address on the front of your envelope, you stand a very good chance your letter will be opened and read.
Every letter I send is designed this way and prospects who receive my letters nearly always remember receiving them when I call to follow up.
This the first step of starting a personal relationship with a prospect by sending a personal letter from one person to another. Remember your goal is to differentiate yourself from the many other pieces of "junk" mail by making your letter stand out as a personal opportunity for both you and the prospect to benefit from establishing a new relationship. This is why I hand sign every letter I send.
This is the easy part. Plan to mail the letters so they arrive in your prospect's hands on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. These are the least heavy mail days when most prospects have more time to read and study their mail.
As a rule of thumb, I use two days for each time zone the letter needs to cross. For example, if I'm on the West coast and I'm sending a letter to the East coast, I need to allow at least six days for my letter to cross three time zones reach my prospect's hands.
Don't worry if your letter arrives early or late. It can take some executives up to two weeks before the they make it all the way through their stack of mail. More importantly, send the letter and prepare to make a follow up call during the next week to be sure the letter is received, explore if there is a need for your services, answer any questions or provide any additional information or references a prospect may require.
Be sure not to send more letters than you can reasonably follow up on within a week. For me this means usually 25 to 35 letters per week. All you need is one client out of each mailing and the mailing pays for itself and then some. Plan to set aside at least a day to make your follow up calls and provide requests for additional information.
Before you make the call make sure you've copied the phone and fax numbers onto a copy of the letter you sent. After you make a call, date your notes and file your copy in a follow up file. This follow up file needs to have sections for 31 days and twelve months. If you make a call on May 5th and the person asks you to call back in two weeks put the letter in file number 22. If they say call back in three months put the letter in August file and when August arrives, take out all your August letters and file them according to their specific follow up dates which in this case would be August 5th.
Before making a call, have a specific objective in mind. To do this I create a simple script which can be used in a conversation on the phone as a guideline or to leave an effective voice mail.
Here is an example of a typical script you can customize to meet your needs: Replace the blue words with YOUR data.
Hi, Mr(s). [prospect's last name], this is [your first name (pause) last name (clearly)] and I'm calling on behalf of [your company] located in [your state or city]. It's a leading provider of [your services], giving you the opportunity to [key benefit such as save time, money or resources]. Our [your service description] enables you to [another key benefit], while achieving [another key benefit].
The reason I'm calling is two-fold.
One, is to find out who is responsible for research services at your company and secondly, to find out how our services would be of value to you. Would you be so kind as to have you or one of your associates give me a call back at [your area code and phone number] (repeat it again slowly), that's my direct line or 1-800-XXX-XXXX (speak the number very slowly), that's my voice mail (here is where a toll free voice mail pager (you can buy one of these for about $250 including a year's service) comes in handy because it enables you to return a call instantly after you receive the voice mail page). Again my name is [your first and last name] (speak clearly) and I'm calling on behalf of [your company name]. Thank you so much [use enthusiasm].
This script has proven time after time to be short, sweet to the point and very effective in producing returned calls.
Every time you reach a prospect, ALWAYS ask if they have a moment to speak with you. If they are busy make an appointment to call them back or get off the phone.
Most people shoot themselves in the foot and destroy any chance of a relationship because they lack the respect for the other person's time whom they are intruding upon. Therefore, it is critical you receive permission to speak before launching into what you have to say.
If you do this one step alone you will set yourself a part from the rest of the telemarketers who call and go right into their agenda without even thinking about what the other person might be going through on the other end of the line.
After making your initial calls, sending out follow up literature to those who are interested in your services and then making follow up calls based on those literature requests, you will have a good idea who is interested in your services.
The key to success is to identify you best possible source of revenue called your target market, develop a compelling initial letter and then persist with regular phone calls using an effective benefits driven script until you reach the right individual who has a need and a budget for your services.
The next step is to set up a test project, complete it successfully and then request a testimonial letter, but that's another chapter.
Here's some more helpful articles from Ron LaVine
Target Market your services using direct marketing techniques.
How to find the blessing disguised in downsizing.
Turn Data Into Dollars with free resources.
Lessons Learned from business by Mr. LaVine
Building an Effective E-mail Newsletter to Increase Sales
Learn How to Establish Your Presence on the Web
Meet the Author, Ron LaVine
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