||Increase Sales by Staying on the
by Stephen Furnari
In light of the current credit crisis and general
nervousness about the the economy, business owners can't help
be concerned about their companies' future. Of course, there
are always businesses that do well in do well in down markets
article that was in last week's New York Times about repo
men), and I know my bankruptcy attorney friends are busier
than ever. But most entrepreneurs I speak with have their eyes
fixed on the latest economic indicator reports.
while business may slow for some of us, if you are creative, a
down economy creates opportunities for entrepreneurial
businesses. For example, down economies create price
sensitivity. Prospective clients who have been loyal to their
existing service providers may reconsider working with an
entrepreneurial company or small firm that has better
It was exactly this type of economy that
propelled me into my
own law practice six years ago and, like in the last down
market, I have recently seen opportunities open up to me that
weren't available a year ago.
According to sales
Miller, keeping your name at the top of your new and
existing contacts' minds is the best way to make sure you
don't miss out on any of these new opportunities. According to
Miller, "marketing is all about staying on the
Most rainmakers, and especially professionals,
are guilty of making a new contact, either through a
networking event, golf or lunch, and then have no follow up
system in place to stay in touch. And while it's great that
you are "out there" having meetings, without a follow up
strategy in place, your return on the time, effort and
possibly expense you invested in taking that meeting is
limited. The people you meet with may not know of (or need
themselves) the services you provide at the time that you meet
them. You want to make sure that you stay at the top of their
mind so when the need arises, you're the person who wins the
For her own business, Miller says that for
her to keep a pipeline of prospective clients large enough to
generate the revenues she aspires to achieve, she needs to
make a minimum of 50 touches a day, which includes people she
meets networking, at speaking events, and communications with
clients and prospects.
But according to Adrian, your
point of contact should never be a "hey, just touching base"
email or call. Miller says that these types of correspondence
are self serving, add no value to your clients and you become
the annoying guy or gal whose email and calls get ignored.
Says Miller, "you win business because you equate to an
improvement to a situation the prospective client is dealing
with." "To do this your communications must offer value to
your prospect or referral source."
Adrian had 8 easy
tips to stay in front of your prospects with value-add
1. Be a Connector. You can be
valuable to your contacts and business prospects by connecting
them to people who can help solve their problems or increase
their business. These can be introductions between clients,
prospects, vendors and referral sources. Adrian suggests
making a commitment to connecting five people a day. Miller
uses her subway commutation time to make these connections via
her PDA. If you are known for making connections that lead to
new business or other opportunities, then you can be sure your
emails will get opened.
2. Send an Article. A
touch point can be as simple as cutting out or photocopying an
article that may be of interest to one or more of your
contacts. Adrian says she walks around with a stack of her
business envelopes and if she's in a waiting room, she'll take
an article out of a magazine and send it to a client or
prospect that's of interest.
3. Send a Link. If
you've just spoken to a client and found out he or she is
going on a vacation to a special destination, or that they
have a particular interest, Miller suggests using Google to
find an article or something of interest to your contact and
sending the link to the article in your follow up
4. Newsletters. Not much to say here,
most everyone knows the drill. The key is to make the
commitment to getting the newsletter out consistently. Miller
suggests hiring a freelance writer to write the copy for your
newsletter. You can have a sit-down with a freelance writer,
give them five bullet points about an article idea, which they
will then turn into a 1,500 word article in less than a week.
Do this for three topics once per quarter and you have your
newsletter copy for a year. I have colleagues who have
successfully used Elance (www.elance.com)
to find affordable copy writers.
5. Take Them to
Lunch. Don't just plan a lunch with one person, schedule a
lunch for two or three people (plus you) who have synergies.
Same concept as being a connector, except you are sharing a
meal together. Miller sets her lunches up a few weeks in
advance, and if you're lucky enough to be invited, you don't
miss it. This is something you can train your assistant do for
you. All you need to do is provide your assistant with names,
and she can schedule dates a few weeks in advance. A good time
saving tip is to pick steady venues located in different
6. Invite Them to an Event.
Like the lunches, invite two or three people who will have
synergies. Miller suggests that this is a good opportunity to
be creative and connect with your clients on a personal level.
Adrian is a member of MoMA and gets invites to exhibit
openings. She regularly invites her clients and referrers.
Recently, one of my clients invited me and a colleague to go
to the pre-opening event at the New York International Car
Show. It was an awesome experience that we are still talking
about. Also, Miller suggests not being afraid to take your
prospects and clients to places where your competition is.
According to Miller, your clients will meet your competition
anyway; many clients will actually be impressed that you're
not afraid of your competition.
7. Get Digital.
Yes, websites are important and unless you've been living in a
cave, you know this. But web marketing has gone to a new
level, and Miller suggests building your online profile
through professional social networking sites like Linked-In or
Corporate Facebook. I know many professionals who are using
these sites to effectively find staff, investors and
8. Keep Clients Happy. Miller suggests
that your clients are your biggest (and least expensive) sales
force and, in fact, promoted her elder law attorney and IP
attorney at our seminar without us even realizing it. Do
whatever you can to keep your clients in your fan
Adrian also gave me her thoughts on a number
of other common marketing tools:
likes them. It's free, easy to post to and raises your online
presence in the search engines.
Cold on them for small business. Ads have zero shelf life
according to Miller, and are expensive. Unless you've got the
budget for "image advertising" (think Tiffany's ad on page two
of the Times every day), or a direct response call to
action like a free report, it's not the best use of a limited
Radio Ads. She's lukewarm.
Radio requires consistency and frequency. Plus you need to
have a system in place to qualify inquiries. Miller suggests
carefully tracking results and
Consistency. According to
Miller, marketing is not an event (a workshop, a one time
article, a networking lunch), but a consistent effort that's
part of a program or system that needs to be part of each
workday. As the owner of two businesses, I know how tricky it
can be to commit to marketing programs over the long haul.
Miller suggests scheduling an appointment with yourself, and
sticking to it like it's an appointment with a client. In his
book, Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes gives a
straightforward approach to time management. I highly
recommend this book to anyone interested in marketing. I carry
it around with me everywhere.
Metrics. In terms
of metrics, any marketing or sales professional will tell you
that only what you measure will improve. Without tracking
every last detail of your marketing efforts, you have no idea
what's producing a return on your investment in time. This
doesn't have to be super technical, a simple excel spreadsheet
Accountability. Finally, if you are a
one man army or "the boss", accountability is critical.
Marketing requires most entrepreneurs to get out of their
comfort zone, and they'll find any excuse to avoid doing it.
If you don't have someone at your company to keep you
accountable to the marketing program you develop, hire a coach
or a consultant to hold your feet to the fire. More than any
other service she provides, I believe Adrian's clients get the
most out of the accountability she provides for
PATENT SEMINAR GETS EXCELLENT
On May 8, 2008, we sponsored a
seminar titled Patents & Trade Secrets: How to
Protect Your Company's IP given by Patent attorney
Goldsmith. The seminar was a huge success thanks in
large part to Amy's insightful presentation and a lively
audience. Here are just some of the comments we
"Fantastic--an excellent and
insightful presentation of the issues facing inventors
and entrepreneurs in the intellectual property
"Crisp, concise and well
"I think I found
another strategic partner!"
UPCOMING FIRM EVENTS for details about future
|UPCOMING FIRM EVENTS
2008 Life Sciences Industry
The 2008 Life Sciences Industry Summit
is a premier one-day gathering for key industry
professionals to interact and discuss issues of
strategic importance to the future of the life sciences
Stephen Furnari is leading a
Discussion on Branding, Communications &
June 5, 2008
Hilton Huntington Long Island
Melville, NY 11747
HERE For More Information
Blueprint: Get Your Company on the Fast Track to Finding
Learn how to find VC, Angel, Joint
Venture and Friends and Family
Date: June 10,
Time: 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Here to Reserve Your Spot!
Can't make it to
the Teleseminar at the scheduled time? All registrants
will get free web access to a recording of the
Teleseminar to listen to at their
Vendor Contracts: Beware of the
Small PrintWhen a business hires a vendor, most times the
relationship goes well. However, it is important to know
that many vendor agreements have language that could be
harmful to your business in the event of a dispute.
Allow yourself enough time to review the terms of your
vendor's agreement before signing to avoid unforeseen
problems in the future.
For example, we hired an
interior designer whose form contract would have
prevented us from using a paint treatment concept he
suggested in any expansion of our office--something that
seemed unreasonable to us.
A "form" or
"standard" contract that is presented to you by a vendor
will be prepared with the vendor's best interests in
mind--not yours. You should never feel that you have to
accept a vendor's contract as is; you can (and often
must) request changes to it.
In our case, we
asked if this restrictive language could be removed.
Turns out the designer's attorney drafted the agreement
and, until we pointed this restrictive clause out to
him, the designer never considered the extent to which
it would negatively affect a corporate client. He
happily agreed to strike the clause.
more often than not the vendor wants your business just
as much as you need the vendor. It is in everyone's best
interests to bargain in good faith.
when you review a contract that you or your attorney
didn't draft. Let the vendor know you wish to take the
time to carefully read the contract, and that you won't
be shy about requesting changes to the contract if need
|ABOUT THE FIRM:|
Furnari Scher's attorneys are entrepreneurs, so
we understand what business owners need from a law firm.
At Furnari Scher, our expert team of corporate
and securities lawyers specializes in helping business
owners with the legal aspects of raising capital, buying
and selling businesses, structuring corporations and
partnerships, protecting intellectual property, and
reviewing and negotiating contracts.
business-oriented approach to the law is why we take a
special interest in startups and emerging growth
companies and the needs of their investors,
broker-dealers, investment advisors and investment
funds. In short, we work with the kind of people who
make things happen.
It's also why we're proud to
stand behind this one simple pledge:
- Your money will not be wasted.
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