When it comes to gaining trust with small to mid-sized business (SMB) owners, absence definitely does not make the heart grow fonder. In fact, it’s much more likely that if you’re out of sight, you’re also out of mind. Not a good situation if you want business owners to come to you when they have a need for your services.
This is why it is vital to have a thoughtful contact management strategy for calling on SMB clients and prospects. You need a formal plan, and you need to adhere to it! But calling or emailing a client or prospect on a specific schedule and generically saying, “Just checking in…let me know if I can be of service” isn’t going to cut it. That’s a totally forgettable interaction, especially when the competition also is knocking on their door.
Your contact strategy needs to include personalized and valuable touchpoints. By providing the client or prospect with interesting, engaging industry-specific information that is relevant to their business, you will remain in the forefront of their mind when they are in need of someone in your profession.
Developing your contact strategy
Most professional services providers develop two different contact strategies for their SMB targets. One is to get in the door with prospects; the other is to remain top of mind with clients and centers of influence (COIs)— professionals who can boost your market access and credibility through referrals, testimonials, and introductions. Here are some thoughts to consider when developing a contact strategy around each of these three personas.
- Identify industry concentrations within your local market. Research to find the obvious, as well as the not-so-obvious, industry sectors driving employment and growth (e.g., technology, healthcare, retirement services, education, etc.).
- Areas of personal interest or a niche. Make a few niche selections based upon your own personal interests (e.g., a hobby, family business, prior career, etc.).
- Consider your own strengths and expertise. You may be well on your way to becoming, if not already, an industry expert. Focus that knowledge and insight on attracting prospects in that sector.
- Group clients by industry. This will help you quickly recognize concentrations within your book of business.
- Look for industries with cross-relationships. These are clients operating in industries that support or rely on other industries (such as a manufacturer needing a transportation provider, or a physician needing a lab to run tests).
- Identify high-revenue potential, high-value clients. Look for opportunities to deepen these relationships and increase wallet-share.
Centers of influence (COIs)
- Current clients and strong champions. COIs who are already your clients are usually easier to convert into champions. The fact that they work with you hopefully means they see value in your culture and strategy. Non-client COIs might have to be “courted,” similar to nurturing a prospect.
- Complementary partners. Look for associates who complement your professional services as well as share your personal attributes such as integrity, responsiveness, transparency, sense of urgency, commitment to client service, passion, etc.
Making it happen
Once you identify your strategic targets, it’s time to implement your touchpoint tactics. But remember that it’s important to incorporate variety into your tactical approach, and continue to deepen the relationship even after earning the business.
- For an email or letter, include information about the latest trends occurring within the client or prospect’s industry. Tell them you will follow up with a call to discuss how these trends may be impacting their business.
- For a phone call, discuss the above trend with them, but also mention another trend or potential challenge occurring in their industry. Explain how you can help address this issue for them.
- For an in-person meeting, print off and share some industry-specific financial benchmark data and/or local economic data with them. Ask them how their business compares to the average company within their industry.
- As a leave-behind or mailer, print off a relevant industry article, staple your business card to it, and jot a note that says, “Thought you might find this interesting.” Then schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss how the article relates to their own company’s experiences.
Better contact touchpoints are just a click away
If it sounds like a lot of work to pull together these types of industry-focused touchpoints on each of the industries in your book of business, never fear. All of this information can be quickly found on Vertical IQ.
Each of our 450+ Industry Profiles contains information on the latest trends, opportunities, risks, and financial benchmarks…as well as recent industry news articles and local economic data. With just a few clicks, you can copy and paste information on your clients or prospect’s industry, or print off an overview of their industry and a pertinent news article.
By incorporating industry-specific information into your contact management strategy, you’ll create attention-grabbing communications for your prospects, and expand your relationship with existing clients and COIs.
>> Ready to impress your clients and prospects with industry-focused touchpoints? Visit https://verticaliq.com/ to get started for free today!