Every summer I get an unexpected phone call that I’m actually delighted to receive.
It’s usually on a warm and sunny day when the last thing on my mind is the impending winter and how cold it will be in a few months.
The call I get is from the fireplace cleaning company. They call to schedule the appointment to clean the fireplace so that it’s safe and ready when it comes time for it to be used.
I happily make the appointment which is within a defined one hour time frame (so I don’t have to wait around all day).
I love it that I don’t have to ever think about it. I don’t have to remember the name of the company or try to find their phone number. They proactively reach out to me and make me an offer.
If they didn’t call me every year I can only guess at how many times the fireplace would have been cleaned.
Another variation of this is that when I visit my dentist for my six month check-up they always ask if I’d like to schedule my next appointment while I’m there.
Of course I would, and I do. If it were up to me to remember to make an appointment six months later I’m sure I’d forget about it.
It’s pure genius! And the benefits are obviously not only for me. The fireplace company is able to spread out the appointments and they’re getting a ton of business they would NOT be getting if they waited for their clients to call them.
Same goes for the dentist, he ensures that I’ll be back sooner than later by asking me to schedule while I’m there.
So how can you apply this concept to your business? Think about which products or services you could offer in connection with a celebration, special event, specific time of year, or time frame.
Ideas to Get the Wheels Turning
Celebrations: birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Christmas (decorations, special dinners, gift ideas)
Special events: Earth Day, Entrepreneurs week, industry specific trade shows, Oscars, Mardi Gras, Mother’s Day, Secretary’s Day
Time of year: summer (vacation, get in shape), start of a new year (diet, business plan), winter (ski vacation), spring (garden, cleaning)
Time frame: monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual check up (medical, car, business, taxes, house painting, computer maintenance)
What’s really cool is that you can use this idea for inactive clients as well. Go through your list of inactive clients and contact them to see if they’d be interested in your special offer.
I hope you’re starting to see that it’s helpful to remind your clients about a product or service they need and may have forgotten about.
Create a structured plan to proactively connect with your clients (and inactive clients) and make them an offer that will make them happy to hear from you.
© Stephanie Ward
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Your post is interesting within the context of something I’m considering doing in my local market. I attend a lot of networking meetings, and I’ve discovered almost none of the local business people have blogs, or do anything with twitter or Facebook. I was thinking of contacting people I know and don’t know as a courtesy, asking them if they’d like help with both setting up a blog, twitter, and Facebook, and also providing content for them on a regular basis.
I think this is similar to the fireplace company, except this is not just current clients (since I’m trying to expand my base greatly). Of course they might call non-customers also.
I like the idea of approach this as a courtesy call rather than a cold call trying to “sell” something. These people don’t want to be sold anything. But they do want to be helped with things they need that are important to them.
What I have to figure out is how to make sure my contacts are perceived as helpful courtesy calls and not sales calls, whether it’s a phone call, or a letter, or an email. I think what I”ll do is write up some information on The Importance of a Blog, Twitter and Facebook for Local Businesses,
like a short article or even press release. Then I can distribute that and at the end politely offer to help anyone who needs help with a blog, twitter or facebook. Make myself available, but not be pushy.
Thank you for your good posts,
Thanks for sharing Leo!
I like your idea to create information about the importance of setting up a blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts for their businesses.
I’m leaning toward an article and it doesn’t have to be too short. It needs to be as long as it takes to share the right information and communicate the benefits, the outcome they can expect. It would be great if you include some case studies as well.
You could offer the article (free report) on your website in exchange for a name and e-mail address. And you could print it out and send it in the mail to prospects.
It’s important to include a simple and clear ‘call to action’ at the end of the article that let’s people know what action they should take if they’re interested in knowing more.
Wishing you all the best with your initiative!