Master the Art of Business
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Permission is a real asset: when your prospective customers ask you to follow-up with more information, you're in prime position to make a sale.
Asking for (and obtaining) Permission to follow-up is more valuable than interruption-based advertising like TV commercials.
The best way to get Permission is to ask for it. Whenever you provide value to people (e.g.: Free), ask them if it's okay to continue to give them more value in the future.
The goal is to make the list of prospects that have given you permission to grow. The more it grows, the more sales you'll eventually land.
Don't abuse the privilege. Make it clear for your customers what they'll be getting and how it'll benefit them. Never spam!
I just did the unthinkable: I actually opened the spam folder in my e-mail account. The folder contained 1,555 unread messages, most of which were some variant of:
I didn't ask for any of these e-mails-the spammers just sent them, without considering whether or not I wanted them. I have absolutely no interest in chatting with "hot Russian babes," I have no use for black market Viagra, and I actually like being bald.
How likely am I to read these messages, let alone respond to them? Not likely at all-on the contrary, I'll go out of my way to avoid paying attention to them, and it'll be a cold day in hell before I purchase what they're pushing.
Unfortunately, many businesspeople assume that the spam approach is the best way to get attention. Unsolicited phone calls, press releases, mass-market advertising, and "resident"-addressed direct mail are the most common legal equivalents of spam: blanketing a large, undifferentiated group of people with a standard message in the hopes that a tiny fraction will respond.
In the early days of television and radio advertising, commercial interruptions actually worked.
When there were only 3 channels, people were more likely to actually pay Attention during the commercials. By purchasing a single 30-second prime time advertising slot on each of the three major networks, you could reach 90% of the television-watching population in a single day.
Now, people have the ability to filter out anything they don't want to pay attention to, either by ignoring the offending message or shifting their attention to something else. The moment you start talking about something your prospects don't care about, they're gone.
Asking for Permission to follow-up after providing Free value is more effective than interruption. Offering genuine value earns your prospect's attention, and asking for permission gives you the opportunity to focus on communicating with people you know are interested in what you have to offer.
Permission is a real asset. Reaching new people tends to be difficult and expensive. It's far easier to follow up with someone you already know-all it takes is an e-mail, a letter, or a phone call, all of which are easy and inexpensive. If you ask the new prospects you meet for permission to follow up, you're making the most of your outreach activities.
The best way to get permission is to ask for it. Whenever you provide value to people, ask them if it's okay to continue to give them more value in the future. Over time, your list of prospective customers will grow, and the larger it grows, the higher the likelihood you'll start landing more sales.
Use Permission once you have it, but don't abuse the privilege. Getting Permission to follow up never gives you carte blanche to send them anything you like. Before asking your prospects for permission to follow up, make it clear what they'll be getting and how it'll benefit them.
If you honor your commitments by continually providing value and refraining from spamming your prospects with irrelevant information, you'll have a powerful asset that can help you build a deeper relationship with the people who are interested in what you're offering.
"Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don't."Seth Godin
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Master the Art of Business