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How to Market Big

Build The Right List

A while back Steve Allen (the mega success real estate guy who wrote No Money Down) performed another one of his fabulous publicity acts when he said he could make something like $24,000 in one hour over the internet. Did he do it? Of course. Was it magic? Of course not.

What he did was create a product that could be sold online and downloaded quickly (an E-book), write his offer (and he is an awesome copywriter), then send the offer out to an already established client and prospect base.

The secret of this success?

His success was in his list — the already established client and prospect list!

His list was pure gold. Now, had he performed this stunt on day one of his business, with a list purchased from some third party list source, he would have probably met the same fate that the rest of us do when establishing our list... our results would be something like -  one half of one percent return IF we were lucky.

So building the right list is the most important thing you can do for your business. There are several ways to get a list, but the quality of the list will vary in direct proportion to your personal relationship to those on the list.

You can buy/rent lists from list brokers. You can buy/rent lists from certain industry associations. You can build a list from publications like the Houston Business Journal — Top 100 issues. But...by far, the best list is the one you personally build yourself based on some evidence of a relationship with that person.

Current clients will be the first people on your list. Anyone your current clients refer to you are excellent prospects too — well, as long as the referring client is an “ideal” client — someone you enjoy working with, has realistic expectations, communicates with you, pays you on time, etc.

After that, you’ll want to build an ideal prospect list. To do this, you need to understand who your ideal prospect is. The more specific you can be, the better chances you have of actually getting those “ideal” people on the list. Being specific helps you, your staff, and anyone you network with understand who you want to do business with.

For example, if you are a corporate sign company and you say...”my ideal prospects are architects.” That statement is true, but too vague. Why? Because not all architects are really your prospects. Architects who build custom homes will not have much need for corporate signage. Architect firms who actually work as project architects for other architect firms will not have the opportunity to spec your signage.

You get the idea.

To build your ideal prospect base you’ll want to ask yourself some very specific questions. Go from general to very, very specific. Many people don’t like to do this because they feel they will be leaving someone out. But, it really doesn’t work like that. If you can be very specific, then you can always broaden your scope as you grow.

Here’s an example of a specific description of an ideal prospect:

“My ideal prospect is the HR Director of a large US retail company. She’s in her mid-to-late forties; she drives a newer model Volvo and is the past president of the Human Resources Management Association. You’ll recognize her immediately because she consistently wears her HRMA pin, is well dressed, and she’s always asking how you found your latest new hire. She’ll be happy to learn about me and my company because I can show her how to hire the perfect employee.”

Words/events/topics/situations that will indicate a need for my product or service would be a situation or conversations where someone mentions how difficult and time-consuming it is to do a complete background check on potential employees, or how they wished that there was one single source to obtain all the background information you need to make the right hiring decision.

If you can be this specific about your ideal prospect, then everyone that has an opportunity to refer business to you will have a much easier time doing so.

Even if you can’t or do not wish to get this specific, you’ll still want to refine who you wish to do business with. Keep these things in mind when creating your ideal prospect:

  • What is your target industry?
  • What is the title of the person who buys your product/service?
  • How big is the company that you want to work with? Just saying “small” or “large” isn’t as helpful as if you say — “we work with companies who have revenues starting at $1 million up to about $25 million.” Or, “we work with companies that have at least 500 employees.” Again, be specific.
  • Is location important to you?
  • What trade associations will they be attending? What magazines do they read?
  • What certifications or designations are important to them?
  • Who influences them?
  • What two or three things about a prospective company will help narrow the field? Let’s say you provide computer services and your “sweet spot” are companies with 10 to 30 computers. Questions you might ask “suspect” prospects are:
    • How many computers does your office have?
    • Have you ever had problems with your E-mail — either not working, too much spam, complete loss of E-mail?
    • Do you have data that is critical to your business but isn’t always backed up?

When you’re developing your prospect base, keep in mind you will need to stay in touch with them on an ongoing basis. This means your list needs to be manageable. If you have 10,000 people on your list, can you realistically stay in touch with them at any meaningful level? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on your budget and resources. You want to build a dream list of your most ideal prospects, then remind them about you as often as you can. So keep quantity and quality in mind.

Spend a lot of time developing your ideal prospect, then create a plan of action to go out and get a bunch of them. You’ll be happier and far more profitable.

[Download our FREE Ideal Profile Worksheets]

[Would you like more marketing ideas? Get our new eBook, How to Market Big today.]

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Do you stay in touch with your existing clients? Do they know about all your products and services? Do you tell them consistently about these products and services? It’s risky to assume your clients know all that you do or even remember you for that matter. Stay in touch.

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