This article is written for those people who are wearing many different business hats and looking for ways to create a better mouse trap for sales prospecting and increase sales. Some of the most important things in developing your sales prospecting work flow is to make sure it’s very versatile. It needs to be able to work for you in person as well as in a virtual setting. It should be very simple and not overbearing with all types of bells and whistles which takes a lot of your time up to manage and figure out, especially if you are a one or two person shop. It’s important to understand the old 80/20 sales rule where most of your business comes from 20% of people, but which 20%? You do not want spend valuable time on the 80% that cannot help you, so building automation into the process is the way to go. You can touch all 80% of the prospects without spending a lot of your time doing it. If a prospect is interested, they will contact you. You also do not need to spend a lot of your time managing or inputting into a system especially if they do not become customers. In general, CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) takes up more of your time to keep updated and has many bells and whistles that most people do not need at the beginning. You want what I call is a SRM (Sales Relationship Manager) that takes the least amount of time until the prospect becomes a paying customer. SRM tends to take much less time because they are more focused on new sales prospects, not existing customers. When you pick a system, make sure that you calculate the actual amount of time it is taking up in your day. Be sure you will be getting a good ROL using it.
Most of us prospecting, spend a lot of time acquiring contact information, whether a business card, Zoom chat list, or a referral. If you have a system, it should allow you to take a business card or Zoom chat listing and enter it directly into a mobile App, or just as important, get someone’s business card or chat listing and take them back to the office. When you have a few minutes, you can enter the contact information in. It should take less than a minute for each contact to upload their information into your secure cloud based contact manager database and have the option to save it in the phone’s contact manager. It also should allow you to add a memo and have the ability to export the contact information have a way to communicate with the prospect over time. Remember timing is everything in sales! You want stay in the mind of the prospect. You want to be sure that all contact information you collected is input so can stay in touch with your prospects.
The first step is to input the contact information.
- Typing contact information to a contact form or Excel: (in-person &-not – contactless
The least automatic way is just typing the information into a contact form or Excel list.
- Retrieve contact by QR code: (a few Apps)(in-person &-not – contactless)
There are Apps that you can use to pass your contact information over as a QR code. These Apps are 100% accurate but may take time to get your camera to read them. Most of them just save contact information in your phone’s contact manager. Some may offer a cloud-based database for a monthly cost but they are not cheap and you can just view the contacts and export information.
- Retrieve contact information by OCR: (a few Apps) (in-person)
Another way is taking a picture of a business card and then the software performs a scan on the picture doing OCR (optical character recognition). The problem with those systems is that most OCR are not 100% accurate and most business cards are not designed for OCR. It takes time to correct the errors. These methods of OCR normally take at least 2-5 minutes per card which adds up quickly. Some of these Apps do upload information to cloud based Contact Manager but again, a lot use your phone’s contact manager.
- Retrieve by cell phone: (only eTag365) )(in-person-& not – contactless)
I found a another way by using eTag365’s product which has a database of over 100 million cell phone numbers to retrieve some or all contact information available. eTag365 offers a free contact listings account to update your contact information. (https://www.etag365.net) People are updating their information daily causing a more complete database each day.
- Retrieve by NFC Sticker: (only etag365) )(in-person-& not – contactless)
Another way allows you to read and write your contact information to NFC Sticker and pass it contactless to someone else’s phone by tapping on their phone. eTag365 must send you a NFC sticker to use this option.
- Retrieve by Text Scraper: (only etag365) )(in-person-& not – contactless)
Another way allows you to go to your internet browser and run a program to highlight text with your mouse and copy it and then paste it to eTag365 clipboard. You hit Enter key and it will parse the information into eTag365 contact form and you can submit to etag365 Contact Manager Portal. This designed to work with Zoom Chat box list.
In the larger in-person events or Zoom meetings, it just takes too long to use OCR or QR Codes. In large gatherings, it can also be cumbersome to try to collect a lot of people’s information at once. The OCR or QR Code works fine on a one to one basis, but these solutions are not cheap over a year. The biggest issue with many of these Apps is collecting contact information only solves one part of the main issue which is putting the contact information into a digital footprint for the small business person. It does not solve what I think is a much more important part, which is using the information to keep in touch with your prospect or connection over a long period of time. We all know timing is everything in sales. If you are not in the minds of the prospect or connection, you could lead to losing hundreds or thousands of dollars in deals.
Let’s look at the next step of the sales process to solve this problem. Just as large corporations like Coca Cola, Ford, GM, and AT& T have the ability to take their products or services to large platform like TV, you have the same ability to use the same techniques. Most marketing people will tell you that any marketing studies show that it takes between 6- 10 times on average of viewing a product or service before a consumer will buy. Using this theory you can do the same thing with Email Drip Campaign without the need of having deep pockets for an Ad spend. Taking the contact information and being able to reach out and target directly to the prospect or connection over a period of time helps to remind them of you and your company and their offerings. By doing this, in most cases when the prospect wants to buy a service or product like yours, the prospect will at least think of you and most likely ask you for a quote. A connection will think of you if they know a friend who’s in the market for what you are offering. You must remember when you are creating these Drip messages to make them informative and not too salesy. You might due a Google search for keywords considered SPAM and do not use them in your email message. It’s also important to keep it simple and short. Do not get into too much detail in each message so it’s not considered spam. Be sure that in the subject line you ask a question and under 50 characters. It’s been proven that you will get a much higher open rate if you ask a question. I recommend making your email a no frills type, so it will get through the email filters. That means emails without a lot of links or images. Most email filters are looking to tag email with a lot of images, hyperlinks, or certain words people are using in the body of the email. One way to check your email is to send out an email test to someone who has Office365 account for example or send to yourself and see where it lands in the inbox folder or junk/spam folder. You can also do a Google search and type in “Bad words to use in emails” which will give you a list of words not to use in your email. It’s very important within the Drip system that it has an automatic opt-out link so your email message meets the Federal Spam law of CAN-SPAM Act and your prospect or connections can opt-out easily.
Let’s say we have collected 10 business cards or a list of 10 entries of contact information. Most of us will pick out what we believe to be hot ones, normally around 3 contacts, and either enter them on a list or just directly send an email to set up an appointment. The rest will go into the dreaded contact pile, which is growing more and more each day. We have the good intention to put the other 7 listings in later. We know it will take 3-5 minutes per contact, so later never happens because we feel we will not get ROI on all the work of entering them. Now with some of these Apps, it takes less time in seconds but more importantly is how much business you might be missing because you are in touch with 7 other contacts. You could be losing hundreds or thousands of dollars because you are not getting in touch with them. Remember with Email Drip system, you do not need to do too much follow up which takes a lot of time unless you want. In other systems, you need to remember to send out your email each time and set it up. With a Drip system, you do not need to do anything.
In my research, I have seen many of the popular CRMs and they seem to be overkill when it comes to Sales prospecting and are expensive and time consuming for what you actually get. After my research, I believe you need two specialty systems. The first tool should be SRM (Sales Relationship Manager) which normally is no-frills and designed to collect contact information as quickly as possible into a database and be sure that over time your prospect or connection remembers you. We have already talked about the need for 6-10 touches of product or service before a larger body of people will buy your product or service. A SRM uses that theory by allowing you to create Email or Text messages templates to send out over a period of time.
When your prospect becomes a customer, you have a different data set you may want to keep. This is called CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) where you can create history of notes and create campaigns to setup up sales, maintenance programs, upgrades and general information like Newsletters. There are many different CRMs available from free versions to over $199.00 per month. Also many popular business accounting system like Quickbooks, Truebooks, and Microsoft Dynamics have some type of simple CRM too.
I found a great deal offering from eTag365 (https://www.etag365.com) app and great tools and it only costs $19.95 per year. It has saved me hours of time where I can do more prospecting because eTag365 is keeping in touch with my connections and prospects automatically. When I get a customer, I can export with a couple clicks to a CSV file any important into my Accounting system or CRM. It’s that easy. No more adding contact information to Excel spreadsheets and then importing to Email service like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp or other services and remembering to send it over at different times of the month. These services were designed more for bulk emails or Newsletters but not Sales Relationship Management System. It’s important to remember timing in sales is everything. The more people you connect with, the more you maximize your opportunities and connections. Remember a prospect may not want your product or service today but may want it over the next year. Unless he remembers you, you will not be invited to the quoting party. Remember the old saying; Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”