A complete marketing message screens prospects, makes efficient use of your time

friday, 21 august of 2009

A complete marketing message screens prospects, makes efficient use of your time

by Trey Ryder

I work hard not to use the word "sell" because I dislike everything selling-based marketing stands for. Still, I want to relate an old adage that contains this distasteful term. So please forgive the verbiage and absorb the message. The old adage says, "The more you tell 'em, the more you sell 'em."

What it means is this: The more information you give prospects, the more likely you are to win new clients.

Here's an example: One prospect comes into your office and says he can give you five minutes to explain how you can help him. Another prospect says he can spend half an hour with you.

Which of these two prospects is more likely to hire your services?

No doubt, the one who gave you more time. Why? Because you were able to tell him more about his problem, about your background and experience, and about the solutions you can provide.

Now take the same principle and apply it to your marketing message. It makes no difference whether we're referring to your educational packet, seminar, newsletter, web site, or anywhere else you deliver your marketing message. Your information should be complete. You should discuss everything you would discuss in a personal meeting with your prospect. The only thing that's missing is the actual one-on-one personal contact.

A complete, competent marketing message should include (1) a detailed explanation of your prospect's problem, (2) proof that the problem is so important that it should be solved now, without delay, (3) an in-depth discussion of your background and qualifications, (4) examples of other clients you have helped with similar problems, (5) comments from past clients and colleagues attesting to your skill and experience, and (6) a detailed discussion about fees and payment terms.

Some lawyers hesitate to discuss fees or other subjects they believe prospects might view in a negative way. The lawyers figure it's better to wait until the prospect is in the lawyer's office, when personal contact is at its highest and the strength of the relationship at its strongest.

But waiting for the one-on-one meeting isn't always best because it may not be an efficient use of your time. How often have you spent considerable time with a prospect only to later learn that the prospect (1) doesn't fit your client profile, (2) doesn't need exactly the service you offer, or (3) can't afford your fees?

Had you explained your client parameters to your prospect before your appointment, you would not have wasted your time.

Still, I understand that some cases are complex and require that you ask in-depth questions before you determine whether to accept a client. So I'm not ruling out the value of meetings. Even so, the more information you provide before the appointment, the fewer appointments you'll waste with prospects who fall outside your client parameters.

When you offer complete details in your written materials, seminars, and web site, you'll find that prospects who don't meet your requirements (and, therefore, aren't really your prospects), usually won't call you. In this way, your marketing message screens out people who aren't your prospects simply because you described your client parameters in your marketing message.

In fact, if you wish, you can go one step further and insert a message for prospects who are not within your target audience. You might say something like, "If you do not fall within the group of clients I serve, you're invited to call (someone else)."

Or, if you don't want to make a blanket referral, you can invite them to call your secretary who can make a referral privately. In this way, you build goodwill with lawyers to whom you make referrals, but still don't personally get involved in what could be a time-consuming screening process.

The prospect wants help. So even if that help doesn't come from you, the prospect will feel grateful if you can point him in the right direction.

Don't overlook this important point: Prospects often know very little about your knowledge, skill, judgment or experience. But one thing they can and do judge, almost immediately, is the degree to which you're willing to help them.

You build a great deal of goodwill, even among non-prospects, when you help them find the help they need. Then, one day when their needs fit the profile of the clients you serve, they'll remember how much you helped them and may ask again for your help. They may also send you referrals.

So, don't hesitate to explain all the details about your services in your marketing message. You can say just about anything in ways that appear positive, qualify your prospects, and help you invest your time efficiently.

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© Trey Ryder

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