November is Time For Follow-up
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional
Here it is, the end of November and everyone is getting out their November Newsletters. Does that mean we should call them “Oldletters”? Well, not really. November is DEMA Show month and whether it falls on the first week of November or the third week of November, it’s still DEMA Show month. This year DEMA started on November 1st. Any newsletter put out on that day would have fallen to deaf ears and missed out-of-office eyes. Our pre-show marketing period includes the days before the show. That would have been in October. The at-show period is the 4 days of DEMA and our post-show follow-up is the rest of November plus December after the show is over. The closer we get to Thanksgiving, the less effective our follow-up will be. But here’s a new way of looking at it. If we treat post-show follow-up campaigns as part of our continual marketing program, following-up with contacts you saw at the show just adds another topic to your ongoing business relationship with clients. So our post-show marketing topics should be about What’s NEW, What’s NOW, and What’s NEXT. It means we have something new to talk about with a client who we just updated our relationship with at the show.
What is your topic of conversation this time of year? I hope you aren’t thinking along the lines of “Well, DEMA is over and now everyone is taking off for the Holidays.” That would be like getting ready to jump off a bridge. What you might want to talk about with your clients, is that it was great seeing them again at the show. You hope you showed them everything that is new for next season. If you didn’t get an order at the show, now would be a good time to close that sale so your clients have your new products in stock for the biggest buying time of the year. Impress upon them the importance of being ready before the Holidays are upon us. Then you could segway into wishing them a Happy Holiday with your promise to stay in touch all next year.
Successful companies have taken the “follow-up” concept and expanded it to the “stay-in-touch” concept. The old way of thinking is to fish for leads at a trade show and then follow-up with the “hot leads” to make the sale. In my opinion, that method is just wrong short term thinking. I believe that sales take place because you have a product your clients need, want and can afford and they buy from you because they know you, like you and trust you. So, to me, sales take place because of your relationship with your clients. Relationships need to be started and nurtured over time. To act as a trusted product representative, you need to keep in touch with your clients and respond to them when needed. You need to be the person they like to buy from and represent the company they respect and enjoy doing business with.
In the diving industry, our success is dependent upon serving our clients better than our competition. I can name a few companies that are/were successful at creating their own network of professionals, inviting key clients to be a part of that network, and establishing a customer-centric way of doing business that put their clients first and made their needs the company’s number one priority. The message is clear: Become a part of our Network and we’ll take care of you. That’s the way to build brand loyalty.