A recent addition to the urban dictionary is the term “seenzoned”. It is when you send someone a message and you know it has been “seen” but you get no response. I might define it as being “friendzoned” but worse. Though this term is more commonly used to describe unrequited romantic intentions, this is also the exact phenomenon that happens when the pursuit for a lead does not translate into business. A company may spend a lot of resources for business analysis, strategic planning and overall conditioning of the market but it can all crumble just after the initial contact. Why?
Initial contact may be a personal visit, a phone call, a proposal or an article meant to prompt a lead to consider change. Whatever it may be, there are numerous ways to increase the likelihood of getting the response you are aiming for.
- Make a good first impression
Why do you think companies shell out gazillions for branding and image management? As cliché as it may sound, first impressions still last, not to mention its power to make or break a potential relationship. Sociologists call it thin-slicing, the ability and predisposition of people to make judgment calls right off the bat even with very little information.
In whatever form you are to make your first move, make sure that you will create a positive imprint. If it is a call, get the names right and be ready with your opening spiel. If you are meeting a client for the first time, be wary of your non-verbal cues. If it is a proposal, create a powerful executive summary and be mindful of your packaging.
- Make yourself worth their while
If you have stirred the initial interest, do not let it go. By merely agreeing to meet you or finishing the third paragraph of your article, your potential client has also started investing their time and effort on you. Give them their money’s worth.
Set your facts straight
Always assume that your audience is critical, intelligent and informed. Since your opinions and suggestions may not yet bear much credence at the beginning, give them something tangible and quantitative. Make friends with numbers- statistics, sales history, revenue forecast are some figures you may need to highlight. This is especially true if you are targeting the decision makers. It’s a number game so let these speak for you.
It is not about you
Patricia Fripp, a renowned speech trainer, remind her students about the healthy I : YOU ratio. It is not just applicable in public speaking but in doing sales pitches, consultation and negotiation. Bear in mind that it is not about you. Rather, it is about your client. Some sales executives get too excited as soon as they engage their target and they start blabbering about features and splattering jargons all around. This is a sure way to douse a lead that’s just starting to get warm.
Talk about benefits. Make it known to your clients that you did your job of researching about them and knowing their needs. Let them realize that there is a gap that you can fill and that you are there to help them. Emphasize what differentiates you from competition offering similar solutions. Give proof of credibility. Bottomline, know and communicate that in the possible transaction, their satisfaction matters most.
- Call to action
The way you end your initial contact will determine whether there would be a second meeting or if you will be trapped in seenzone. In a Utopian setting, salesmen close their deals right away and marketers immediately prompt their audience to act. However, since that does not happen every time, make sure that you create an avenue for a follow-through. If you are publishing an online article, do not make it too difficult for people to comment or share. For personal meetings, send the minutes right away and act on pending matters. If you did a phone call, take it a notch higher the next time. Effective initial contact is nothing without a strong call to action.
In this era of information superhighway when consumers are bombarded by hard selling advertisements, and where numerous options in various media forms are available at any client’s disposal, salience is the key. Give your first shot a good beginning, middle and end. Who knows, that might just be your bridge to the business zone.