With the market environment being as tough as it is right now, new business prospecting has never been more difficult. So if you are going to spend the time and money doing it, make sure that you avoid making some of the mistakes that most commonly occur. Here are six of them to avoid:
- Materials are too big. If you are going to use targeted direct mail, then try to avoid oversize packages. Previous thinking was to make it big both for impact purposes and to make it too large to throw in the trash can. That approach no longer works.
- Toys, tchotchke and expensive gifts. In addition, avoid toys and tchotchke as they usually add no value, are probably too “cute” and are basically just “tacky”. Avoid iPods’ or other expensive gifts as most companies have a policy not to accept gifts above the value of $25. Sending “stuff” is a bad idea. I was recently shown a new business package sent to a senior female marketer that had a thong included with it. Needless to say, that agency has no chance any time in the future.
- Too much information. Do not try and win the business at this stage of the game. Be concise and make every word count. Make sure you clearly articulate the message you are trying to deliver. Think about how much time you spend reading what you get and use that as your gauge.
- Too Generic. This is almost a follow on from too much information. Avoid a lengthy description of your agencies history. Absolutely do not include a detailed description of your proprietary process, your agency philosophy and laundry list of capabilities. Personalize the communication. Make sure you do your homework, have a point of view, and can quickly demonstrate your value proposition that specific client.
- Lack of attention to detail. You would be amazed at how many prospect communications go out with spelling or grammatical mistakes in them. These do not instill confidence in a prospective client’s mind when they consider you as a possible custodian of their brand.
- Failure to follow up. Believe it or not, one of the biggest mistakes agencies make is telling the prospect that they will be following up and then failing to do so. The chance of the prospect getting your communication and immediately jumping to respond is slim to none. Even if your communication has piqued their interest, YOU are going to need to be the one to follow up. So many opportunities are lost in this way.