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Dec 04
2019

Develop an Effective Pre-approach

Posted by: Steve Marr

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We all receive unsolicited information particularly by email. Most are targeted in such a way to make us believe we are one in 10,000 or 100,000 receiving such a generous offer. I received one the other day apparently as follow-up indicating they had not received a response to their invitation to a wonderful seminar. I never asked to be invited. I never asked to be on the mailing list. Frankly, I had zero interest in attending the seminar. Yet, the follow-up came again and again. Unsolicited offers where the sender acts like they know what we need and want are annoying.

 

I am reminded of the old McGraw-Hill ad of the man in the chair saying:

I don't know who you are.
I don't know your company.
I don't know your company's product. 

I don't know what your company stands for.
I don't know your company's customers.
I don't know your company's record.
I don't know your company's reputation.
Now -- what was it you wanted to sell me?

I have an interest in a damage restoration business.  One group of prospective referral partners I visit are property managers. Before I decide to darken their door with an unsolicited call, I look up the company on the Internet.  I like to find out who the ownership is if possible, what the business focus is, and anything I can about the company. 

For example, one property manager may have a major focus on vacation rentals.  This helps me understand that they do business with short-term tenants who made him to be a little harder in the short run on property.  Another property manager may focus on renting to college students, while others seek renters for commercial property. Each of these property managers has a different focus, and I need to tailor my approach differently for maximum effect.  When I walk in, the first thing I do is to express an understanding of their business focus or, as I found out in one case, that the owner was entrepreneur of the year in the past. This is the way I develop rapport and a connection.

When connecting with any customer, a key step is to develop what I call a needs assessment. What does the customer need and want? Then, I’m able to tackle a presentation focused on the customer’s needs, not mine, which will generate more income. 

When I see these ongoing solicitations from people I don’t know and haven’t requested communication with, they tell me how desperate they need business.  Behind everything I see:  Help!  I need your business. Send the money! I simply hit the delete key and I recommend you do the same.

Paul taught an important principle when he wrote, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22, NIV) Paul worked to win people to Christ.  While Paul had the same message, faith in Christ, he used different methods for different individuals because Paul wanted as many people as possible to accept the Lord.

A handful of well-targeted and thought through customer approaches will generally provide better results than continually firing a shotgun into the air.

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