I was feeling nostalgic, so I did what my dad and granddad used to do: I went out my front door to fetch my mail. It’s one of those age-old rituals I perform about once every two weeks. I walk back into my house with a bundle of mail. I promptly do exactly what you do at your home: throw away 99 percent of it. Then I wonder out loud how I can get the remaining one percent sent to me electronically.
It wasn’t long ago that sending a letter (with an actual stamp!) was a great way to grab someone’s attention. Even more recently, a compelling voice mail would probably land you a callback. But in today’s world of Twitter hashtags, text messages without vowels and a generation of people who don’t ever listen to their voice mail, it’s time to try something new—especially when it comes to starting and advancing business relationships.
Below are 3.5 ways I’ve seen people get results, simply by using technology differently. Each option costs you nothing out of pocket. But you will need to trust me and be prepared to try something new. (Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to become Facebook friends with your mom.) My goal is for you to stop leaving voice mails and start building your influence! And if you’re an old-schooler who still owns a fax machine, then this is the time to grab your favorite highlighter and take notes:
1. Don’t send proposals. Instead, send a recording of yourself presenting the proposal. We use a service called Jing. It records your screen and voice while you walk the viewer through your presentation. This gives you the chance to personalize your message, walk clients through each step of your proposal and close the sale—all of which they can view as if it were live at any hour of the day. While your competitors are sending out a boring PDF, you are sending out a movie. Break out the popcorn. Sale closed.
2. Add audio to your emails. My friend Jayson Gaignard is a master at this strategy. Instead of sending traditional email introductions to connect people, he records a quick audio file and sends it within the email. His last intro for me started with, “Hey, guys. It’s Jayson. Rather than doing a typical email intro, I thought I’d record a quick audio about why you two should know each other.” #brilliant!
3. Deliver content that people you want to influence can’t find elsewhere. I love striking up a conversation by email or in person with a give-first opening such as, “Here are three obscure facts I found that are likely to impact your business.” You can bet that when I ask if they want our team to share what else we found, they take the call (or Skype invite!). If uncovering hard-to-find data is not your forte, no problem. Send them a link to a TED video you think they’d enjoy or find helpful for their business. The key is to share something unexpected and different than what every other marketer or salesperson is sending.
3.5. If you make your schedule available online, don’t show that you have lots of openings. I see so many people using scheduling software to secure a meeting, but how does it look when you have no other meetings set that week? It looks like no one wants you. Fill in those blanks with meetings that show you’re busy—even if it’s a meeting with yourself to think about how to get more meetings. A full calendar is one that more people want to get on.
And if all else fails, break out that fax machine. Someone definitely wants to meet you: the person running your local museum.