|March 30, 2017
Too often professionals ‘go around the corner to get next door’. They purchase a cold list of names, and rely on marketing tactics, such as telephone cold calling and direct mail, to build a clientele.
Law of Reciprocity
The business world is built on reciprocity. For example, suppose that you require the services of a plumber; suppose also that there are three plumbers in your area – all equally skilled – and that one of them is a friend of yours. Would you deliberately avoid going to your friend? Of course not.
Neither should you avoid approaching your friends and family and telling them about the services and value you provide. In fact, your friends and acquaintances are logically the people you should contact first. They are easy to approach, because they already know you. If they don’t buy from you, or refer others to you, it’s probably because they need to be further educated about what you do, or perhaps because their needs are already being taken care of by someone else. It’s not because they resent having a friend or acquaintance approach them.
Your goal is to cast a wide net, including all the people you know. Tell them about the value that you are providing. Some might have a need; most will be able to provide referrals and introductions for you.
The Interlocking Wheel Concept
This is an easy method to help new and experienced professionals build a solid list of names that can pave the way for warm introductions. I know of several top professionals who regularly use this method to keep themselves supplied with high-quality names, which means they can continually market to people who are familiar to them, and avoid cold calling.
Every person you know is the pivot to at least four categories of relationships, involving: family, hobbies, occupation, and social media (see Figure 2.2). These are established relationships that almost everyone naturally has in place.
Figure 2.2 Interlocking Wheel Concept
Now, imagine that each wheel has eight spokes, and each spoke represents the name of someone that you know.
For example, imagine that you know eight people in your Occupation wheel. Reviewing each of their four circles, it’s possible to fill in the spokes with eight people they know in each category, and have 32 more names. You might already know many of them, and you can easily obtain an introduction to the rest. Then you can do the same with the eight people in your Hobbies wheel, and so on. In a very short space of time, you can build a list of several hundred, and possibly several thousand, names of people who are already familiar to you. This list will become your natural market.
Step 1: Brainstorm – Use the interlocking wheel concept with a friend, spouse, or partner to brainstorm a list of names. Start with your Family members and complete the interlocking wheel exercise. Repeat this process for the names on your Occupation, Hobbies, and Social wheels. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of the names.
Step 2: Compose an e-mail message—This should be personal e-mail – an update letting your contacts know about the changes in your professional life. Tell them what you’re doing now, and the types of value you are offering. Contact me at email@example.com for a sample email script.
It shouldn’t be a sales letter or an advertisement for your services. It’s simply a friendly update to your contacts and people you have a connection with. It’s appropriate to include a paragraph that explains what you do. Make sure you make it easy for them to contact you, by including your e-mail and web addresses.
Do not send these e-mails in bulk. Each one should be personally addressed, as though you are writing to a friend. When building your list, it’s important to note how you are connected with each person, and to build that into your e-mail.
Step 3: Follow up—Make sure that you promptly follow up with anyone who enquires about your services, provides a lead, or simply offers congratulations on your new business. This is also another reason why you should personalise these e-mails and send out only a handful at a time. For those contacts you deem to be high priority, and want to meet over a coffee, you might choose to follow up the e-mail with a phone call. These people already know you, which makes it easier.
Step 4: Keep in touch—I recommend you remain in contact with those on your list, by e-mailing them once or twice a year to keep them up to date with your progress. The same rules apply: the e-mails should be personable, and not a hard pitch for your services.
The Interlocking Wheel Concept is an easy way to create an overflowing sales pipeline of high quality prospects that represent your ideal client. That’s how you produce superior growth results!