Today we interviewed a new client who has devised a fiendishly simple, yet remarkably effective, sales strategy: he shows up. More specifically, he gives an underserved niche in his industry — a very large niche — the time of day.
In return, they give him large checks.
“Eighty percent of success,” as Woody Allen famously observed, “is showing up.” Here’s how it works for our new client:
His insurance agency exclusively offers insurance to owners of apartment buildings in New York with fewer than 100 apartments. (In New York this is considered a small building.) Most of these folks are ignored by insurance agents. Many complain that the only communication they ever receive from their agent is a bill.
He takes the time to educate them a little about the insurance they need, and in return approximately half become his clients. Twenty minutes of Commercial Building Insurance 101, and he lands a new client at least half the time.
Is your sales batting average over .500?
Here’s another example: I sometimes drop in, unannounced, on a client. Usually I’m in the neighborhood and just saying hello. Almost every time it turns into new paying work: “Hey, as long as you’re here, can we give you this project?” A 20-minute visit, when balanced against the dollar value of the projects it generates, is the most lucrative and successful form of marketing I can imagine.
In addition, clients are loyal to people who pay attention to them and treat them as important. This is true in industry after industry, and pays dividends beyond sales and revenue. (A recent study, for example, showed that people don’t file malpractice suits against doctors who listen to them and answer their questions, rather than brusquely rushing them out of the office, even when mistakes or bad outcomes occur.)
When was the last time you got out from behind your desk and actually visited your clients? When was the last time you called one of your clients and said, “Tell your employees not to eat breakfast tomorrow morning, because I’m coming in with a tray of bagels?” How often do you call your smaller clients, not to make a sales pitch, but just to see how they’re doing?
In other words:
- Talk to your clients regularly, even if you have no business reason to do so.
- Find underserved market niches within your industry, and give them some attention.