Warm Up Cold Calls With a Two-Step Marketing Approach
Is your firm or practice going to the school of hard knocks with cold-call telemarketing?
We all know a "warm" lead is much better than a stone-cold lead, so wouldn't your marketing efforts improve if you "warmed" up your calls?
As the old saying goes, "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar." Cold-call telemarketing is about as smooth as molasses and as bitter as vinegar. To warm up your approach and improve your effectiveness, try a little honey. While I clearly recognize honey is more expensive than vinegar, the value of a new client is well worth the extra effort.
Firms will want to consider a two-step marketing approach to improve their lead generation program. The key is to generate interest before you call, establish yourself as a "trusted" advisor, know exactly what to say and focus on their needs instead of talking about what you offer.
In the last several years, many public practice accounting firms were called on by telemarketing companies to participate in a dialing-for-dollars program to increase the number of leads. However, firms told us that far-from-good results occur. The people making the calls on behalf of the firm really don't know much about the firm ... and how could they? No one knows the value you bring to your clients like you do.
In today's day and age, it's getting much more difficult and expensive to sell products and services - especially intangible services - using traditional direct response marketing - and that's where telemarketing falls. It's just too difficult to provide enough information and create any trust from a cold call telemarketing pitch.
With the proliferation of marketing messages, you will get a much higher conversion ratio and lower cost per new client by breaking down your lead generation process into baby steps.
Step One: The first step is to educate your prospects about better ways to alleviate their pain. For our clients, this initial step is a well constructed direct mail letter. This initial step is designed to address their pain and establish your service as the solution to their problem.
In addition, the direct mail letter will start to position you as a "trusted" advisor. This is done by providing credentials, demonstrating expertise with a niche audience and using testimonials. For those who are curious and interested, provide your website address at the bottom of your direct mail letter so prospects can learn more about your practice and expertise. If your website is done properly, it should act as a silent salesperson for your practice.
Step Two: After warming up your prospect with a honey-flavored direct mail letter, the second step is an outbound phone call from you or your staff that references the first step. Following up a direct mail letter with a phone call shows you care about the prospect's business and elevates the prospect's perception of your firm. It also adds creditability to your offer and provides a window to quickly address any objections. While this window of opportunity may be brief, it provides you with the opportunity to expand on your capabilities and/or cross-sell into an adjunct service.
If your lead generation is suffering from a failure to communicate, warm up your approach with a little honey; it will go a long way to converting a prospect into a client.
About the Author
Hugh Duffy is co-founder and chief marketing officer of Build Your Firm, a practice development and marketing company for small accounting firms and website development for accountants. Hugh teaches a series of Accounting Marketing Workshops; writes an email newsletter reaching thousands of accountants; and is frequently published in various publications, including state CPA society magazines, the CPA Practice Advisor and Progressive Accountant.He can be reached at 888-999-9800 x151, or at [email protected].