Watched another flick that inspired publishing last night…this time a Ben Stiller movie titled While We’re Young.

He plays an mid-40’s hipster (or so he thinks he is) that is in career crisis (creating a documentary) until he meets a younger version of himself…that tries to “school” him in his own art form. When he’s finally had enough and figures out his path, he rants about the value of face-to-face communication and that “real was there before Facebook”!

Real IS still here and nothing speaks more to your personal and professional brand then how you present yourself IN-PERSON. You may be able to find clients online (or position your SEO properly for them to find you) but if you’re looking to establish a repeat, loyal customer base usually this means face-time (and we don’t mean on your iPhone).

Have you ever met someone and just their smile made you smile and WANT to connect with them?
Don’t underestimate the power of your smile and handshake! With the addition of digital marketing, some entrepreneurs get lost in the numbers game, and forget that their community, and it’s members is where their business starts! Connecting at your local Chamber of Commerce (free events are usually offered to businesses in the area, even if you’re not an official member), and community networking events (eg. visiting or participating in your local Farmers Market and other town events) are a great way to create a buzz about your company. Connecting positive energy and your sales vibe, with a consistent brand presentation is key to entrepreneurial success.

But what reminds them to remember you once the smile and handshake fade?
Don’t forget about the other sales and marketing tools you have available (for minimal cost) to follow-up on leads you are generating while out networking. If there’s no follow up, you might as well not network because it’s ALL ABOUT THE FOLLOW-UP! Here are some tools we like to use when reminding people we connect with to stay connected!

1. Business Card
Yes still your most valuable marketing piece, especially if someone ASKS you for it! Make sure you leave them a easy to scan (and read) business card. A well designed card leaves all contact information and a snippet of what you can do for them!

2. Your Voice!
Calling to follow-up is a great tool! BEST SALES TIP I have ever received?  ALWAYS ASK FOR SOMEONE’s TIME as soon as you have identified yourself on the phone.  The worst thing is to just launch into your pitch…what if they’re running to a meeting, have someone in their office, or a deadline? Sales savvy people will always put someone at ease by asking: Do you have time now to chat briefly?  This gives the person a chance to decide if they have time NOW or want to schedule a time LATER.

Even if you don’t reach the person you can still leave a voicemail to ensure the initial connection is followed up. Mention how you met and why you are following up. Be very clear about how they may contact you when they receive the message. Remember to only leave one sales voicemail.

3. Letter or Card in the mail (yes go to the post office and stamp it!)
A personalized Thank You, inviting them for a meeting or giving them an offer that will continue the “call-to-action” and further the sales cycle. Linking to an online campaign is a good way to capture them in your database for future communication. Sendoutcards.com is a great resource!

4. Email
A prompt, short-but-awesome email to follow-up with warm leads is a standard tool that will get them your information quickly, and hopefully have them clicking on your brand ASAP. You can include a link to specific areas on your website, and also invite them to sign up for your social media networks and email newsletter. Once they are signed up in your network they WANT to hear from you. This can help solidify sales if your online presence matches the power of your smile and handshake!

5. Promotional Products
Sponsoring a local event in your community (eg. sports teams, charity fundraisers, golf tournaments) is a great way to advertise your business and engage current, and potential customers. Leaving a promotional product gift with them to take-away and use at home is a great way to gain “face-time” even when you’re not there! 1 in 4 people are carrying a product with someone’s logo on it. They should be advertising yours for optimal face-time with your community and potential customers. Just make sure the product is USEFUL!

6. Social Media
A very crucial item or tool you can use for your brand is to ensure your business is visible and findable on social media. Subliminal is powerful in marketing and it always has been. Ensure your brand is consistent and responsive on mobile and desktop. Make it easy for the user to click and find you and what you’re selling. It doesn’t matter if you build it, if no one knows it’s there to come! If your potential users see you promoting the community and your business RANDOMLY in Facebook ads and/or in editorials for the local community newspaper/magazines, it WILL subliminaly “remind” them of your brand over and over, and increase the likeliness of conversion in your sales cycle. Social Media (including your website) validates your brand before, during, and after someone meets you. Often times the sales cycle is broken when a business can not be validated with their online branding efforts. I will save peppering you with stats on mobile usage and how social media effects your sales cycle for another time.

Our best advice? Get back to basics with your sales! Train yourself to hit the phone and pound the pavement! Sales is a numbers game…the more targeted you engage, the higher conversion rates you will receive. So get out to meet the customers in your community. Regardless if it’s B2B or B2C sales your are looking for…there are leads and referrals waiting at every block in town, and beyond. Just don’t forget to strategize before you go, so you know how to present your brand. Here are some great tips from the BDC that we posted earlier this week.

If you need help with brand consistency and strategizing how to network and present your brand, contact us today for a FREE chat. We would love to help your business stay rooted in your community!