Friday, April 09, 2010

Fishin' 1

Miss me last week?

I was on a relaxing vacation with my family at a lakeside cottage .

On a whim, I decided to get a license and take PJ fishing. I'd never been fishing in my life. So I skimmed the DNR's "Fishing for Beginners" booklet and set out.

Armed with our new poles and tackle we decided to drop our lines in at the boat dock near our cabin. None of the seasoned fishers were catching anything anywhere else.

Suddenly, I felt a bite.

"I've got one! PJ, I've got a fish!" I said. (I don't know who was more excited, me or PJ.)

"Great!" said PJ.

"What do I do now?" I asked no one in particular.

"Did you set the hook?" Beth asked from somewhere behind me.


"Did you set the hook?" Beth repeated. "Gently jerk the line once. Then start reeling him in."

Within seconds I pulled a Blue Gill out of the water.

"PJ bring the net here," I said. together we netted the fish.

"Now what?" I said to Beth. "The book's back at the cottage."

Beth rolled her eyes.

"Pull out the hook and get him back in the water before he dies," she instructed. Cleverly, Beth chose not to get a license. So she could only teach, not touch.

"That book should be laminated," I quipped. "Ow! I think he just bit me..."

Now, I  understand how a lot of rookie marketers feel when they get a lead. "Now what?"

Unfortunately, few "set the hook" before they try reeling in a prospect. They rush to close and the sale often gets away. And they're fine with that. Plenty more fish in the sea.

A seasoned salesperson knows what to do. If the prospect isn't ready to bite now, they work hard to keep the sale alive.

Today, using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology a salesperson can keep the sale alive until the prospect is ready without spending a lot of time at it.

Using software like SugarCRM or Constant Contact, a smart marketer can keep in touch with prospects and measure responses by using an ongoing series of emails and mailings.

The problem is, you can't wait until you have a nibble to know the next step. You need to have your process set-up well in advance. The longer the selling cycle (the time it takes the average customer to make a buying decision) the longer and more structured your follow thru should be. A good marketing agency (like mine) can help you choose good CRM software and develop a comprehensive follow-thru campaign to fit your unique situation.

Back at the lake, I decided PJ and I would keep our first catch and have it for supper.

More on that fiasco, next time...