following article is based on reading Jim Domanski's "The Rule of 7" and
offers some food for thought. Jim is President of Teleconcepts
Consulting, who focuses on using the phone to generate leads and sales.
The Rule of 7 says:
prospective client needs to see, hear, or otherwise be exposed to
your message at least seven times before they respond in some way,
shape or form.
don't have a Client Contact strategy with at least 7 steps, you
significantly reduce your odds of sales success.
The reason for this is simple: Most of us have learned that the average
seller is not interested in a relationship but rather in a quick and
easy ("quick and sleazy"?) transaction. Most of us want a relationship
with our service or product providers, but few sellers seem willing to
invest the time it takes to establish a relationship, and so we tend to
stick with our vendors-of-habit not necessarily because they are
particularly good or effective but rather because it is "better the
devil you know."
The Rule of 7 is based on building familiarity for the seller, their
company and their products or what is called "mindshare" (the portion of
the person's "buying awareness" that you own occupy). After a couple of
contacts you might achieve 1% mindshare, but at this point your
prospective Client barely knows you, and the odds of a sale are
proportional but if you increase the mindshare to say, 60%, you
significantly increase your odds of success.
It is common sense: Familiarity breeds trust and trust breeds sales. So
here are ...
4 Steps to Building Mindshare:
Define who is worthy of Contact. Your criteria might be
prospects with size, prestige, influence or, if you are just
establishing a market, it could be "everyone." The main point here
is to think this through before acting.
Create a Positive Contact System. This might include resources
that positively impress your Client (brochures, uniforms, website,
signage, service level at first contact, newsletters, information,
education, advice), and a schedule or system for passing those to a
prospective Client in a planned manner. For example, a small
handwritten "Thank you" card sent after a sales call, is an old
fashioned yet still very powerful way to create a positive
impression and set yourself apart from the crowd competing for
Vary the Contact. Use e-mail, fax, direct mail, courier service,
the telephone and, if appropriate, a visit. Mix them up and
orchestrate them (that means "planning" again!) Sending seven
e-mails or leaving seven voice mails won't build a relationship. In
fact, they look a lot like stalking! Varying the medium creates the
need for your prospect to interact with you at different levels.
Schedule the Contact. Accept the reality that it may take 4-6
months to have a prospective Client accept that you are interested
in a "real relationship", at which point you still may not sell
something, but at least you have become a "serious contender". What
gets scheduled tends to get done so develop a "contact calendar" for
every new prospect (this is why step 1. is in here, by the way), and
stick to it, while taking care to avoid "overwhelming" or
"inundating" your contact. A good rule of thumb is to never let more
than two weeks go by without a contact.