By Karen Cortell Reisman, MS
How often do you receive a standard envelope in the mail? How many times have you heard "I'm away from my desk or on the phone. Please leave a message at the sound of the tone, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible"? How frequently do you get asked, "I didn't catch your name. What's your name?"
Take off your sign that reads "I am so predictable." Get creative.
Get creative sending mail
If you send something by snail mail, make it memorable. Ideally, this can be a part of your brand.
Jeff Tobe runs a company called Coloring Outside the Lines. Tobe suggests that you'll have a much higher chance of having your mail opened if your letter stands out. He uses a crayon and scrawls the address using all the space on the front of the envelope except where the stamp goes. He also advises that the decision-maker will look at it if it's three-dimensional. People are curious about content that has some shape. So he sends a package of crayons to prospects, along with his proposal.
Other creative ways to grab the recipient's attention include: using a colored envelope, putting some object in the envelope that relates to your business, attaching real stamps rather than using a postage meter, and handwriting the address.
Get creative recording your voice mail's outbound message
Get rid of the stupid and generic outbound voice mail message, and use these 30 seconds to explain your benefit to the person who is calling you!
First, unless you just plopped onto Earth from another galaxy, you know to wait for the beep. You no longer need to tell us to "wait for the beep!"
Second, make this next voice mail change ONLY if you want to increase sales and decrease phone tag. Alter "We'll get back to you as soon as possible" (which in many cases does not happen anyway) to "Let me know a good time to return this call."
Third, in your voice mail's outbound blurb, ask the listener for his or her e-mail address, and give your Web site address.
Fourth, keep it short.
Get creative in remembering names
Before you say, "I'm horrible at remembering names," here are some easy-to-implement ways to burn names into your brain.
• Ask them how to spell their name.
• Repeat their name in the conversation, but not too often.
• Write their name down if your interaction is on the phone. NOTE: This applies to everyone you talk to, especially to your target's gatekeeper — the administrative assistant. The admin assistant plays a vital role in the organization. This person's job is to shield your target from unwanted interruption. Knowing the assistant's name and using the name begins the rapport process.
• Get their business card, and put some notes on the card that will remind you of what they looked like and the details of your conversation. NOTE: Do not do this while they are still with you. One person actually began scribbling notes about me while I was standing there. He smacked of youthful naiveté.
• Try to associate their name with something else permanent about them, rather than with their attire, which will change. Examples include their stature, facial features, or mannerisms. The more specific and detailed the personal reference, the better.
• Refrain from writing their name in the body of a form letter or e-mail. It's contrived and you also run the risk of using the wrong name. I once addressed an inquiry letter to John, and wrote "Jim" in the letter. I blew it. No job with that company.
• Think twice about how you send snail mail. Package your stuff in an intriguing way.
• Please, please, please change your outbound voice mail message. During this 30 seconds, sell your uniqueness.
• Put on your "I am going to remember your name" hat. Make this an active habit rather than a passive place of memory loss.
© Karen Cortell Reisman, MS — excerpt from "The Naked Truth About Selling"