Thursday, April 27, 2006

How do you get new contacts into a dialogue?

In today's issue of Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor, Lea Ann Hutter of Hutter Design shares an observation and a tip about how she follows up with new people she meets.

"I've been forwarding information about events they might enjoy and they usually email back to thank me, because what I'm sending is relevant to them. I think emailing a thank you is easier for people because it is a simple response (no thinking involved)."


Do you agree with Lea Ann? Or have you tried the "ask a simple question" technique? Do you get a response or silence? And what kinds of questions elicit the most response?

8 Comments:

Blogger Kathryn Beach said...

Recently I got an email saying that one of the links on my website wasn't working. I emailed back and thanked that person kindly. I even stashed his email in a special place. I like to think of it as my "people I know are alive, paying attention, and not afraid to write to me" folder.

So my question is, should I fix the link? haha, of course I should. It made me think a bit though. Since I'm in the business of helping webmasters improve their website traffic, I should be visiting websites and offer my condolences to those who insist on advertising affiliate sites instead of their own websites *lol* and offer appreciation and constructive criticism to those who wisely have their own personal sites.

Much better than a brisk email that says "let me know how I can help you." If they knew, they wouldn't need my help. =)

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Dani Nordin, the zen kitchen said...

I found myself doing something similar at networking events. Instead of asking for more info about their business, I send them links to interesting articles, or new sites I've discovered. I also use my newsletter as a way to give people helpful information, which seems to be something people enjoy.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Jacob Bear said...

Getting people to respond isn't the problem, so much as choosing who to follow up with.

I seem to get inundated with calls and emails every time I go to a networking event, so the challenge is sorting out the worthwhile contacts from the people who feel obligated to email everyone who handed them a business card.

I try not to waste anyone's time. If I think they're a good prospect I'll come right out and say so, along with offering some free advice, a subscription to my newsletter, and a relevant white paper.

For others I follow Dani Nordin's tactic of providing something useful--an article, a local event, or a referral if I can. If I can't do that, I won't contact someone unless they contact me first.

I used to spend 3-4 hours a day "following up" on contacts that were rarely valuable to either party. Now I focus on quality rather than quantity.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Joan Damico said...

I agree with Lea Ann. It's much easier to send a thank you, than answer a question. Although, it depends on the conversation that transpired during the networking event. The most effective message is one that is relevant -- whether that's a link to a relevant website or a question relevant to your conversation. As a direct response copywriter, relevancy = response.

5:34 AM  
Anonymous JP Collins said...

I do a lot of networking. I ask questions while talking to people at events to figure out if the person is a prospect or not. If they are I get their card and ask if I can add them to me email list AND tell them I will call them next week or tomorrow, depending on when I first meet them.

When I call them, I ask them to set a time for a meeting (by phone or in person) I never try to sell them right then and there.

If they aren't a prospect I get their card and ask them if I can add them to my email list.

After that whether they're a prospect or not they get my handy tips in my newsletter.

I guess the point of this post is that I segment my list at the beginning of my sales process. Everyone (who wants it) gets my newsletter and only prospects get an email.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous JP Collins said...

I do a lot of networking. I ask questions while talking to people at events to figure out if the person is a prospect or not. If they are I get their card and ask if I can add them to me email list AND tell them I will call them next week or tomorrow, depending on when I first meet them.

When I call them, I ask them to set a time for a meeting (by phone or in person) I never try to sell them right then and there.

If they aren't a prospect I get their card and ask them if I can add them to my email list.

After that whether they're a prospect or not they get my handy tips in my newsletter.

I guess the point of this post is that I segment my list at the beginning of my sales process. Everyone (who wants it) gets my newsletter and only prospects get a phone call.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think sending information is a perfect way to created a "link" and being a "resource" without putting pressure on people. People I meet receive tons of email from other people wanting to do business. By sending a newsletter (I have an infoblerb that I send with only one key piece of information they can use). Be patient and don't give up too soon. It's being at the right place at the right time. Rochelle Sollish

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Ash Gupta said...

Like others I'm disheartened when an email I sent isn't acknowledged, and I know that I too do not always reply to emails I receive. But I do remember the sender. Sometimes when there isn't an immediate need to do business together, being remembered is just fine. I advise you keep in occasional contact and don't underestimate the effect of those emails.

6:06 AM  

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