Last week we introduced our Prospecting Campaign, including an explanation of what we do and why.  (Yes, prospecting is still necessary, even in the “age of inbound marketing!”)

This week we dig into the actual steps, including the actual emails we send and call outlines we use.

Transcript – Aviation Marketing Prospecting – The How To Guide

Paula Williams:

Welcome to Part Two  of our prospecting process.

John Williams:

Okay.

Paula Williams:

Okay. Last week we talked about the what and why, and today we’re going to dive into the how to. And this is actually a process that we’ve gone through with several of our clients in their office hours this month, helping them get their prospecting systems set up. And once you get this down, you can reuse it, it just makes things a whole lot easier.

 

This episode is being brought to you by the Aviation Sales and Marketing Lab. And this is our program where we provide some software, some tools, some coaching, quite a bit of other material and also our coaching members or lab members, our insiders talk to each other and share ideas and other kinds of things. So it’s kind of a…

John Williams:

You’d be surprised how helpful it can be.

Paula Williams:

Yeah. Unique situation that gets you a lot for your money. It’s not just like getting a coach or getting a sales manager or something like that, it’s actually being able to work with other folks in the industry. Right?

John Williams:

They have between all of them, multiple hundreds of years of experience.

Paula Williams:

That’s true. Hard to duplicate.

John Williams:

[crosstalk 00:01:28].

Paula Williams:

Yeah, we have sure learned a lot from them and we’re really happy with every single person that in there, they’re are a lot of fun to work with and we hope that you’ll join us. So…

John Williams:

Of course.

Paula Williams:

Our sales and marketing lab.

Okay, so you have a source of inbound leads. We talked about this last week. That could be lead magnets on your website that people have to give you their contact information in exchange for a checklist or tip sheets, something like that. Trade shows you may be scanning badges and getting, you know the lead capture spreadsheets. You may have leads coming from your website that you’re using LeadFeeder or some other technology to capture. So you have leads, they may be missing bits of information, they may be varying qualities, some are good, some are bad, you have no idea yet which are which.

John Williams:

In fact our people have approached to help fill in the bits that your missing.

Paula Williams:

Exactly, and we’re going to talk about that in detail. Actually, we’ll talk about the missing bits and how to get those pieces.

 

So we also talked about the fact that what most people do with those leads is nothing, which is the worst possible thing that you could… well I guess the worst possible thing would be to call them all and tick them off in some way, and I think that’s what people are afraid of. They’re afraid that they’re going to do the wrong thing so they do nothing.

John Williams:

Which is the wrong thing.

Paula Williams:

Which is the wrong thing. But what that does is it takes all of that time and all of that money that you spent using whatever method you used to collect those leads and it just throws it right in the garbage and that is tragic. Not that I haven’t done it myself, because time goes by, things get busy, if you don’t know what to do, you tend to put off the things that you’re not really sure what the next step is. And so it makes it a whole lot easier to procrastinate if you have a blank sheet of paper or you really don’t have a plan, so we’re going to fix that today.

John Williams:

Tell me you don’t procrastinate.

Paula Williams:

I never procrastinate.

John Williams:

See that’s what I thought. So why are we talking about it?

 

Paula Williams:

Exactly. Okay. You also don’t want to go too far in the other direction and get down on one knee and propose on the first date. And I think a lot of people do this because they don’t know what to do. So they just jump right in and their first contact, you’ve had this happen on LinkedIn where someone asks to connect with you and you say, “Sure.” And a minute later you get a text from them saying, “We sell dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.” And you don’t even know this person yet.

John Williams:

Nope.

Paula Williams:

So it makes you regret having connected with them. So you don’t want to come on too strong, you don’t want to propose marriage on first date, you don’t want to hire an airplane to tow a banner that says, “Will you marry me?” You know that’s too much expense, it’s too intimidating, it’s too fast, so don’t please do that. Okay? We dated for a year, well actually we hung out for a year, we worked together for a year before we ever really dated.

John Williams:

We worked together for a year or two.

Paula Williams:

Yeah, it’s crazy. But anyway, we are very slow movers and also in terms of sales, which is not a bad thing as long as you have a full pipeline.

John Williams:

It took me the better part of a year to get her to go out for a cup of coffee. Not kidding.

Paula Williams:

We are very slow movers and your prospects might be too, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Being cautious people is kind of risk management. Right?

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay, cool. So we have an a three week, almost three week, it’s actually two and a half weeks, eight touch campaign and this is a ridiculous amount of work. I will tell you that right now. But…

John Williams:

But the bottom line is, it works.

Paula Williams:

It works and it’s actually only a ridiculous amount of work the first time you do it. If you set it up as templates and automate it and use a CRM and some other tools and there’s a ton of tools on the market, some of which are expensive, some of which are free or close to it. So this is something that just about anybody can do using, I would say, $30 or less a month.

John Williams:

Yeah, and you can spend all the way up to a hundred or more dollars a month on a CRM and there’s a learning curve as you go up in the sophistication of CRMs; however, once you do that, it does a lot more work for you.

Paula Williams:

Right? And you can do parts of this using something really simple like MailChimp, you can get all the emails set up to go out from something like that. You’ll have to do the phone calls yourself and you’ll have to remind yourself to do the phone calls. Or you can use a CRM like Salesforce and it will tell you every step if you set it up properly.

John Williams:

And it keeps bonking you in the face every time you are supposed to…

Paula Williams:

“Make these phone calls.”

John Williams:

Exactly.

Paula Williams:

Right. So if you need to be bonked on the face, Salesforce is your thing. Right?

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay. If you are a little bit more automated and what to spend a little less money, you could use something simpler like a MailChimp or a constant contact.

John Williams:

Or if you’re in charge of marketing, you leave yourself logged into Salesforce and you keep getting stuff just throw…

Paula Williams:

All the time. Right. Okay. So yeah, this is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of work for your competition.

So it really comes down to the matter of, do you want the customers worse than they do? You know, are you willing to do the work? And that signals to your customers, and this is part of the Darwinism really of the capitalist marketplace, how bad do you want the business? And it signals to your customers, are you procedure oriented? Are you in it for the long term? Have you invested in your business? Do you have systems? Are you organized? All of those things are things that you’re communicating to your prospective customer during these three weeks.

John Williams:

Yeah. They basically want to know if you know what you’re doing.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. And they may not even articulate that fact, but they will be impressed by the fact that you are persistent and professional and courteous and all of those things. So that’s what we’re after is to make sure that you are representing yourself in the best possible way to start with.

John Williams:

Of course.

Paula Williams:

Okay. All right, so we’re not going to propose marriage on the first date, we’re going to do baby steps. So of this eight step program, we’re going to go through each of those steps step-by-step, right?

First step is wherever you’re getting your leads from, in this example, we’re using LeadFeeder, which is what is used in our marketing lab. So for each of these steps there is a reaction or a call to action or an intended response, so the intended response from the first step is a complete lead with a name, a first name, last name, email address, and phone number. So if we can get those five pieces of information out of our first step, we’re happy.

 

Paula Williams:

Okay. So we’re going to start with wherever we get our data from, trade shows, websites, LeadFeeder, JetNet, Airpac, Tail Numbers. You know some people actually from FBOs and other service providers will actually write down Tail Numbers that are landing at their competitors facility and then they’ll send them a postcard. So you know if you are collecting leads that way, this will work with that too. Okay. There’s lots of ways to get leads, in almost every case though, you’re not going to have complete information about that.

John Williams:

Exactly.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So that’s why we have to do our step two, which is research and connect. Our first step that we want is a LinkedIn connection, some people are going to have a LinkedIn, some people are not. We’re also going to want those five pieces of information.

So if we’re using LeadFeeder, which is what we’re using in our example, there is a button in LeadFeeder that says use the people search. So you know you have someone come to your website, you can see that they came to a certain page on a certain day, they spent a certain amount of time. All of those things and one of the options in that software is to connect using LinkedIn and it will pop up LinkedIn and it will show you these are all of your connections on LinkedIn at that company. So I don’t know who from that company came to my website, but you know I have a pretty good guess that it’s someone that I may be connected to or someone that has an interest in marketing or someone that has an interest in whatever it is that I’m selling.

John Williams:

And you keep going down the scale to… which is going up to scale, but it’s going down from where you start to the C-level people.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. Then the other thing in here, the other option that I have with LeadFeeder is to use Salesforce, which is our CRM and that’s what we use for some of our clients to see if I already have a customer in the system, in our system that is connected to that company. So you know, there’s a couple of tools that are built into the software.

If you don’t have software, then the next step really is to just look for someone on LinkedIn, hit the connect button, right? And type in something very simple like, “Hi David, this is Paula Williams from ABCI. Aviation is a small world, so I thought it would be good to connect.” You will notice what I did not do, right? I did not do any pitching when I connected with David on LinkedIn. In fact, I would never pitch David using LinkedIn.

John Williams:

Yeah.

Paula Williams:

Pitches I think need to come either by phone or by email or by some other format, but LinkedIn is not the place. It’s really a social network. We sometimes buy advertising on LinkedIn, but that’s a totally different thing. But a personal connection I think is the same thing as dropping to one knee and having airplanes go by fireworks and stuff like that. They’re going to run screaming and think that you’re coming on too strong and all of those things. Would you agree?

John Williams:

Oh yeah.

Paula Williams:

Okay. You’ve had that happen?

John Williams:

I have.

Paula Williams:

What did you do when that happened?

John Williams:

I’d delete it.

Paula Williams:

You delete that contact? Okay. So that’s what we don’t want to happen and that’s why we were doing baby steps. You know, it’s really, really annoying to have someone come on too strong and cause those kinds of issues and we don’t want to burn any bridges or give a bad impression, which is why we’re investing all this work. Okay? So we made a LinkedIn connection, we have five pieces of information, a name, email address, phone number. Okay. So all of those things have happened. Okay, so now we get to step three, which is our email number one, which happens on day two. So day one, we connected on LinkedIn, we did some research to find the data that we needed. Another thing that I didn’t mention is that we do have a service that we offer to fill in that data. We’ve got some Sherlock Holmes types who will go online and find those missing pieces of data for you. They have the people search in the yellow pages and all the software that you would have to pay $15 a month for if you got it yourself. And [crosstalk 00:13:12].

John Williams:

And they’re pretty good. I mean you give them a hundred contacts to have them research, they come up with what, 95 or 98?

Paula Williams:

Yeah. I mean there’s going to be some people that they can’t find just because there are people who are very good at keeping their information off of the internet, but for the most part there’s always an annual report or a yellow pages or white pages or somewhere that they have a listing. And once again, it’s going to be good, better, medium and quality. But that’s why we’re going through a semi automated process with these folks up to this point. Right?

John Williams:

Yeah.

 

Paula Williams:

Okay, cool. So the next thing we do is our email number one. And this is a real simple email and you can use this template if you like and adapt it to your product or service and your company of course and all of those things. So, “From Paula Williams, subject aviation website traffic and sales at?

John Williams:

Company name.

Paula Williams:

“Company A.” All right. “Acme widgets, Mr blank.” And I’m going to use Mr and I’m going to use the last name because one, it’s unusual and two, most of our decision makers or most of our demographic are folks that like to be addressed the first time by their last name. And that may be the case for you, it may not be. If you have a younger crowd, a first name might be fine, but I like to start with the last name because I almost never go wrong that way.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Okay. “I’m checking to see if you are the person that makes decisions about website performance at your company.” And you’re going to fix the red text to be whatever it is that you sell.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

“If you aren’t the right person to contact, could you forward me onto someone more appropriate, please advise.” And now all of this text has been tested, right? So rather than “Sincerely” I’m saying “Please advise.” You’re more likely to get a response from a “Please advise” than from a “Sincerely” because it’s signaling very respectfully, “I expect a response.” Right?

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay, so there’s lots to these that is really, really helpful and is kind of cool. So that’s your first email.

Step four, phone call. This happens on day three. So this is the day after you sent the email. You given them a chance to respond. By the way, if they do respond, then you go ahead and proceed with your sales process, whatever that is, make an appointment to do a consultation. You stop the script.

John Williams:

Yeah, don’t keep running it. If somebody had pops up and says, “Yes, I’m interested.”

Paula Williams:

Right? So you’re after one of three responses, “Yes, no or not now.” And if you get a yes…

John Williams:

Take it.

Paula Williams:

Take it, schedule the consultation and move on. Take them off the list for this campaign so they don’t get the rest of these emails.

John Williams:

And go after the next guy, girl, whatever.

 

 

Paula Williams:

Exactly. So the purpose of the phone call is to get a response from that email. It was a really low key email and all it was asking for is, “Are you the right person at this company?” So the phone call is going to do exactly the same thing. Some people are going to respond by email, some people are going to respond by phone. We’ve got all different personalities in the world and we’ve got to accommodate them all. So, “Hi, I’m calling for Mr whatever at company A. This is Paula Williams at ABCI, I lead our aviation website team. I wanted to find out who I can connect with at your company about some aviation website best practices we’ve discovered in the industry and some specific aviation websites we’ve worked on with impressive results. I emailed you yesterday with a request to find out who at your company we might share this with. If you wouldn’t mind providing a quick reply to that email. I’ll bother the right person rather than the wrong person. Thanks very much for your help and have a great Wednesday.” So most of the time you’re going to get a voicemail, this works fine with voicemail and also it works fine with a person, but you’re going to want to not sound like a robot. Right? But at least you have something to say so you’re not going to be completely ugh when they answer the phone.

John Williams:

No. You have to have it planned out so that if they don’t answer the phone, you’re good to go. And if they do, you’re ready.

Paula Williams:

Yeah. And if you’re like most people, they answer the phone and you’re surprised and you don’t have it planned out, you’re going to choke and you’re going to sound like an idiot. I’ve done it. So I understand this, but if you have this in front of you and you have it all planned out with names, with everything filled in, you may not use it and that’s fine, but you’re not going to choke. Right?

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Okay. But you do want to make sure you cover all the points, you just may not use the script and you don’t want to sound too robotic. And the more you do this, the more practice you get, the smoother it’s going to be.

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

Okay. Okay. Step five, email number two. So we’ve skipped ahead to day 10, so we’re the following week. So we were on day three, now we’re on day 10 so if the last email went on a Wednesday, this is also going to go on a Wednesday.

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay. And Wednesdays are actually probably the best days to do this, but adapt it to whatever’s convenient for you. It’s much better to do it on the wrong day than to not do it at all.

John Williams:

Absolutely.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So this email, we are after a click. So we want to know that this person is alive and that they actually do answer their email and that they actually have some kind of an interest in the topic that we’re talking about. Okay.

John Williams:

So you didn’t send it to [inaudible 00:18:44] and it’s taking all this time to get back.

Paula Williams:

No kidding. You never can tell about technology these days. Okay, so step five, email two day 10 from Paulo Williams and subject, “Should I contact…” And here you’re going to insert another person at that same company. Okay? Your second choice of who you want to contact. So, “Mr blank, you may or may not have seen the email below…” So you’re going to thread your emails. You’re going to just forward the email that you sent before, right. “As you consider whether a conversation with ABCI makes sense based on your current objectives and priorities, I wanted to provide some additional background to help determine if this would be worth your time or the time of someone on your team. I’ve attached a customized report that includes some ‘data’ or ‘some cool stuff’…” That they’re going to want to know if they’re the right customer. “If you feel that your website has not been getting the attention it deserves or you have other marketing objectives that ABCI could help you with, please send a quick reply and I’ll send a calendar link. You can select a convenient time for you or for whoever you think is appropriate at this point. If ‘person B’, ‘Mrs B’ would be a better contact for this, please let me know. Please advise.”

Paula Williams:

Right. Okay, and once again, I’m not using fancy email templates, this is just a plain text email that one person would send to another, that I would send to someone about a business matter. So this is not a sales email, this is not a fancy WordPress template or anything else, right? Okay.

Paula Williams:

This is step six. This is a phone call and this is day 11 so if yesterday was Wednesday, today’s Thursday, and I’m going to make a phone call to follow up on that email, so you’re seeing a pattern start to develop. You send an email, you make a phone call, send an email, make a phone call, send an email, make a phone call. If you had hundreds of contacts, you could do this just with the emails, but if you look at the statistics in the book, and also our statistics or our experience is that the email plus the phone call is much more effective, like by orders of magnitude than just the emails. A lot of people get a lot of emails that they completely ignore, but if they’re getting emails and phone calls, that does two things. One, it shows that you’re persistent and consistent and that you have an organized system so they know who you are and you can keep track of someone for three weeks.

Paula Williams:

And then the other thing that it does is that they start to get familiar with your name and you start to sound familiar to them. You know, whatever it is, if they visited your website or they’ve visited you at a trade show, whatever, they think of you more often. And so over the course of this amount of time they’ve been putting together in their head, “What could this person do for me?”

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Right? That’s just one of those goofy psychology things that sounds hooky, but it actually works. It’s done. It’s worked on you, right?

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

Whether we like to admit it or not, humans are creatures of habit and you can get in the habit of thinking about someone and you start to think about, “How could I use this person to fix my problem?” And that’s one of those things. Okay, real simple. This one I don’t leave a voicemail for because I don’t want to come on too strong once again, but if I get lucky and I get hold of someone, it’s a lot more likely because by now they recognize my number so I don’t look like spam. They’ve gotten a voicemail from me, they’ve seen my email twice potentially. Even if they’re a super busy person, I’m starting to become familiar to them. So they’re more likely to pick up my phone call.

Paula Williams:

“Hi, I’m calling for Mr A at company A. This is Paula Williams at ABCI, I lead our aviation website team. I sent you an email a few days ago with some website data. Like most of our clients, I’m guessing you’re pretty busy so I figured I’d reach out to you to see if you wanted me to walk you through the report and see if it would make sense for us to work together.” Once again, super low key, super professional, very customized. Right?

Paula Williams:

Okay. Step seven. Email number three. This is day 14.

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

So we’ve had two weeks go by and we’ve had all of these things happen.

Okay. Step seven, email three, day 14. “From Paula Williams. Subject following up.” I hope, I don’t need to say by now that this has to come from the same person each time. You know you’ve been building up a relationship with this person all this time, so you want to make sure that you’re continuing that and not having your emails come from a [email protected] because that ruins the whole purpose of, of all of this.

Paula Williams:

So, “Mr A, I’ve been trying to connect with you over the past two weeks to explore ways that ABCI can improve your marketing results. Since I have not heard back from you, I loved to draw a few possible conclusions. One, you’re all set with your website and totally satisfied with its performance. If this is the case, please reply with one so that I stopped bothering you. Two, you are interested in what ABCI can do, but you are just very busy right now. If this is the case, please reply with two. Number three, you got attacked by a lemur and you want me to call for help. If this is the case, please reply with three. Please advise, Paula.” And a phone number. So you’re laughing.

John Williams:

Well, and I was just thinking this is a little humor but it’s also very good for thinking out of the box. And back in the day one of our people that taught us marketing, because they used to send out letters and he’d gone after this particular company for some time. And finally he got, I would say, pissed. So he went down to the ACE Hardware Store and bought a metal trashcan.

Paula Williams:

A shiny, galvanized, silver, metal garbage can. Right?

John Williams:

And boxed it up and sent it to the guy with a note that says, “You obviously are not responding to me, you need a place to put all this mail I’ve been sending you. So here’s the trashcan for that.”

Paula Williams:

Exactly.

John Williams:

And the guy called him back.

Paula Williams:

Right. So you know, there’s really two directions you can go at the end of a campaign. You know, either getting cranky or getting humorous and humor always gets a better response than the giving up, or being pathetic or being angry. So this is a good one, it will only work as long as the person that you’re sending it to hasn’t seen it before. You know, I mean it has to be funny and fresh and you can change it to whatever you like just to make sure that it is funny and fresh. But it also does something that respects the other person’s time. You know, you’re trying to be super convenient, you want them to get off your list if they want to be off your list.

John Williams:

Yeah. Because all they got to do is type a single letter and hit the enter button.

Paula Williams:

Yep. They reply with one, you stopped bothering them. They hit unsubscribe at any point along this way, obviously you take them off your list.

John Williams:

Of course.

Paula Williams:

But you may get a two that says you’re interested but you’re just busy. And if that’s the case, then you can write back and say, “Would a better time to contact you be after tax day?”

John Williams:

Or you might get a three and say, “Call me at this phone number at this time.”

Paula Williams:

Exactly. So all of those things are very likely to get a response. And the response rate for these emails actually goes up with each one that you send. This one gets the best response of any simply because number one, it’s the last and number two, it’s funny. So it has both of those things going for you.

Paula Williams:

Step eight. This is the last step. You’ve made it all the way through this process. Congratulations.

John Williams:

Wow. And what that means is that you’ve got a tough guy you’re trying to get ahold of.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. And so this is your hail Mary. This is your last step. If they didn’t respond to your lemur email, then what you’re going to do is just make one last phone call, this is the third of three phone calls. For those of us that hate the phone, it’s only three phone calls. Right?

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Okay. “Hi, I’m calling for Mr A at company A. This is Paula Williams at ABCI, I lead our aviation website team. I sent an email a few days ago with some website data for your company. Like most clients, I’m guessing you’re probably pretty busy. So I figured I’d reach out to you to see if you wanted me to walk you through the report to see if it makes sense for us to work together.” That’s the same as the last script, right? Or the last…

John Williams:

Email.

Paula Williams:

No, the last phone script.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Okay. I did not leave a voicemail, so I did not say this. This is the first time they’ve heard it, if I didn’t actually get hold of them. So I can reuse the same wording there. Okay? But the last line is different. “Please reply to the email I sent you or this voicemail if you’d like some more information. If not, I’ll assume that you’re all set with what you need, best wishes to you and have a great day.” So you’re signing off. You’re not going to call him anymore. You’re signaling, “I’m a professional person. I’m not wasting my time. I’m not wasting your time. I get the message.” Right?

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So once again, the responses that we’re after are a yes, a no or a not now. And as soon as you get any one of those responses, you take them off the list.

John Williams:

Yeah, and all the way through, that’s the same as an on now and you put them on that holding pattern.

Paula Williams:

On the holding pattern. So what I would do is if you make it all the way through this process and you’ve made that last phone call, then what you do is you just flag that contact in your CRM for next year, this time next year, and then use a different campaign, not the same one. And you leave them alone for a year, but you keep sending them newsletters and other things in the [inaudible 00:28:58], unless you really know that they’re out of business or they ask you not to. So then I would do mostly postal mail and automated email newsletters, other kinds of things like that to them to make that work.

 

Paula Williams:

So the great thing about this process is that you are not erring on either extreme. You’re not letting your leads die of neglect, you are doing everything you possibly can to do business with them, giving them every possible opportunity to do business with you. Right?

John Williams:

And you’re not burning any bridges.

Paula Williams:

And you’re not burning any bridges. So you’re not going the other extreme and sounding like a complete idiot or coming on too strong and scaring them away. So that’s why this so effective and you’re going to get a pretty good response rate depending on the quality of your leads and where they came from and how fresh they are and everything else. It does depend and so it’s really hard to give you numbers, but it’s going to be exponentially better than if you don’t do anything with those leads.

John Williams:

Well, yes.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So go sell more stuff.

John Williams:

“America needs the business.” Thank you Zig Ziglar.

Paula Williams:

Absolutely. Have a great day.

John Williams:

We’ll see you next time.

 

 

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