On the Road in Cheesesteak City
7. Build a no-hassle relationship with the people you meet. We send out a Mason & Geller newsletter called Inside Stuff. It's informal in the context of our business, and it's full of tips and information. Every time an issue is mailed, we receive calls and e-mails thanking us. Some folks ask for advice, which is the beginning of a conversation. When I can, I clip interesting and relevant articles and send them to people I know will be interested. Things like that are solid relationship builders.
8. Sound like a human being in your follow-up communications. Stay away from the buzz words and gobbledygook that would make your own baloney detector buzz off the hook.
Very few of the people you meet at shows will give you any business immediately. But they'll remember you when the time comes, especially if you keep in touch. Sometimes you'll get a referral. Sometimes nothing. It doesn't matter, because in the long run, if you do it right, the business will come in. Once, it took me 10 years to generate business from a woman who eventually became a long-term client.
It breaks my heart when I see generally nice people trying to rush me into a sale. I can feel the impatience, feel that they think I'm wasting their time. They're not doing well in the friendship branding department, developing their own brand personality, beginning a relationship, nurturing it and being helpful before asking for anything.
All things being equal, everyone prefers to do business with people they like. It just takes a bit of creativity.
I was so taken with some of the people at the PDMA that I forgot to get Paul to stop at Jim's on Fourth Street for a glorious, nothing-like-it-anywhere-else Philadelphia cheesesteak!
Lois K. Geller is president of Mason & Geller Direct Marketing, a full-service direct response agency in NYC. She is the author of "RESPONSE! The Complete Guide to Profitable Direct Marketing." She can be reached at email@example.com