Excellent question! Is there a good reason? You bet there is! Two (2) in fact. Prospects give us two compelling reasons to keep-in-touch over time:
- your prospects have a life-time of value, and
- your prospects have a life-cycle of need
This is calculated as follows: the number of times a qualified prospect will need the kind of services you offer X their average client transaction = their Life-time Value.
Stew Leonard, Jr, CEO of the most profitable green grocery in the world (Stew Leonards®) once heard about a shopper who left the store and her grocery cart behind because of a delay in being cashed-out. His staff didn’t feel that was so bad. In fact, one newer employee commented, “It was only about $200 of groceries”. Stew, Jr. jumped on that comment with this classic response: “She didn’t leave $200 behind, she left over $58,000 behind!” The clerk was confused. “Look”, Stew said, “our typical customer shops here for about 5.6 years and spends, on average, about $200 / week on groceries. DO THE MATH! 52 weeks X $200 X 5.6 years = $58,240 — and if she doesn’t return, THAT is what we’ve lost, not $200 in one cart, OK?”
Obviously, there are many more transactions awaiting you if you work with the same qualified prospect over the course of their useful buying lifetime for the product or service you offer.
LIFE-CYCLE of NEED
Regardless of what you do or sell, there’s a good chance a qualified prospect isn’t likely to have a constant need for it. Think about the following kinds of predictable purchases we all make and how much time passes, on average, between the last time and the next time we’re ‘in the market’ for it:
• FOOD . . . bought weekly
• DENTAL CLEANINGS . . . bought every 6 months
• TAX PREPARATION SERVICES . . . bought every 12 months (April 15th)
• AUTOMOBILE . . . bought about every 3 – 5 years
• HOME . . . bought about every 5 – 7 years
If you just bought new home, odds are good you’re at a ‘low’ point in your need-to-know cycle for ‘housing’. Alternatively, if your car is 5 years old, you may be a lot closer to the next time you’ll be visiting auto dealerships than you’ve been in the last 5 years. Right?
THE CHALLENGE YOU FACE
Here’s the problem this presents for you as a marketer. You can’t choose or predict when you’ll come into contact with someone who will, sooner or later, be ‘in the market’ for a product or service you offer. If you determine that a new contact isn’t ready to make a buying decision, but you don’t have a way to stay-in-touch and top-of-mind with them until they are (again!) in the market, you may forget about them. Worse –– they may forget about you!
Net result? You won’t come to mind the next time they’re ‘in the market’ for a product or service you offer. But don’t worry. They WILL find someone when those times come who will help them. They’re called your competitors! And they’ll be only too happy to take care of your forgotten and neglected prospects.
THE SOLUTION YOU WANT
If the thought of having to constantly ‘hunt’ for your next sale isn’t attractive, you’ll want a SYSTEM for keeping-in-touch and staying-in-mind with people who are likely to buy what you do BUT . . . not aren’t ready to do that when you first connect with them.
A useful system for cultivating your contacts and positioning you as a ‘Preferred Provider’ of you with prospects, clients and strategic alliances should include the following:
- Automation . . . if you have to work too hard to use it, you won’t. It’s that simple.
- Media . . . use media that is most likely to reach your contacts — email’s a good bet
- Permission . . . to contact someone ensures you’ll have their attention and get their response
Keeping-In-Touch with people who can buy what you offer (or, refer you to others who can!) requires a process, a plan and a program to carry it out consistently and conscientiously. The Client Machine™ is one such system that may be worth a look to determine if it would be of some help to you.