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Economic Development

Posted on: July 28, 2015

10 Ways to Connect Better with Prospects

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Norcross Department of Economic Development

Bryce Sanders, Contributing Writer
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Your best-ever business prospect just relocated to the area, which you know because you saw it in your Business Journal's “People on the Move” section.

It’s likely every realtor, banker, broker and luxury goods purveyor does wants his business.

How do you get noticed?

Many people might err by shouting to get noticed, but there's a better way.

1. Telephone

Yes, executives have pleasant and efficient call screeners. They probably don’t work evenings or Saturdays like your executive. Even if you just leave messages, they see your name, which builds awareness.

2. Letters

The more personalized the approach, the greater the chances it will be read. Hand-signed letters on quality stationary (with a handwritten note), typed addresses and interesting stamps all combine to increase your chances. Repeat the process.

3. Seminar invitations

Wedding-style invitations look and feel different. They tend to be opened. Although they might not attend, they see your name and firm affiliation.

4. Hearing you speak in public

They might attend a chamber or professional association meetings. You are a scheduled speaker or an articulate audience member with a question. People often assume showcased speakers are authorities.

5. Sending email

Yes, it’s easy, free and overused. Yet there are plenty of ways to get attention with email. Use the prospect's name in the subject line. If you have been referred, include that name in the subject line (with permission). Get to the point in the first line of text because some devices include it in the basic display.

6. Seeing your name or photo in the newspaper

If you frequent the charity fundraiser circuit you might get photographed. Can you write a column for your local weekly paper? Does your firm advertise? Write letters to the editor periodically. Alternatively, clipping and framing the prospect's job appointment story and sending it can get his attention.

7. Hearing about you from others

If newcomers need a service, they ask around. Can your friends and clients tell your story? At a country club, a financial advisor was approached by an individual who wanted to become a client. The advisor asked, “Why did you choose me?” The fellow answered, “I asked around. Yours is the only name that came up twice.”

8. Meet face to face

You attend community events. You have favorite restaurants and clubs. You might know the same people. Plan to be in the right place. Ask for an introduction or take the initiative yourself

9. Clip articles

Many people email article links. That’s sterile. When you clip and mail an article about the prospect's firm or an interest you share, it communicates a sense of thoughtfulness.

10. Social media

LinkedIn and similar sites have changed the world. Now you can identify friends in common (2nd or 3rd degree connections) along with shared connections from college, industry and previous firms. These provide a reason to reach out.

There are plenty more channels to get on a prospect's radar screen. Some are crowded with traffic, others are an open road to your destination.

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