Shadow

Start the Conversation

It always amuses me when I go to a group meeting of some kind (like
the last one I attended in Nashville - The GKIC SuperConference - in
early April) and people walk up to me out of the blue and say things
like "Hey Nick, how are you? Are the kids doing well? How have
things been since that record deal you just negotiated? Is the band
doing well?" This may sound like idle chatter, but what makes this
exchange so fascinating is that often I have never spoken a word to
this person in my life. Seriously.

What I have done is started a conversation with them through blogs,
articles, press releases and newsletters. I have literally written my
way into their heads and started a one way conversation. What then
happens, is when I see them, they are eager to fill me in on their
side of the conversation. Its as if the flood gates have finally
opened for them and they can finally tell me what has been on their
minds for months! And what normally ensues is a great conversation
that allows us to get past the normal process of getting to know
someone and earning their trust, even though this is the first time
I've ever really met the individual.

Better yet, a lot of times I get direct business or referrals out of
these conversations.

The point here is that you have to take the opportunity to start the
conversation with your prospects-- and even your existing clients. I
actually just contributed to an article for a very prominent website
that offers business advice to contractors in the residential and
commercial construction industries about unconventional marketing.
What I told the reporter was that a printed newsletter (yes one that
is actually printed on paper and delivered by the mail man!) is the
most powerful marketing tool any business owner can have.

I gave an example that even in an industry like landscape maintenance,
not only will you get more clients, but you will retain more clients
as well just by "starting the conversation" with clients and
prospects. Stop and think about it for a second-- do you ever get the
chance to stop and chat with your gardener or lawn maintenance
personnel? Do you know if they have kids, that they have hobbies and
what they would advise you to do to keep your lawn and garden looking
great with just a few small tips? I would guess the answer is no, but
I would also guess that if you actually knew who this person was you
probably would feel a bit of loyalty and wouldn't go out looking for
another vendor based solely on price. This is a very simple strategy
that consistently yields amazing results.

And before you go and write off the idea of doing this because it will
take too much effort, don't be ridiculous. You could simply write a
letter every month in microsoft word and send it out to your clients
and prospects. The tools you use to start the conversation to not
have to be complex, costly, full color and glossy or made up of any
other preconceived notion that you already have. The content is much
more important than the look. Not that a great look isn't also helpful,
I'm just suggesting that you not get bogged down in the details, just
get started!

So, the next time you are looking for a new way to drum up clients,
increase customer retention and transaction size, just remember, all
you have to do is start the conversation. Myself and the rest of your
prospects will be ready and waiting.