Who Said Postcards Don’t Work? – How One experiment Got Me 17 Appointments
Two weeks ago I was asked a very good question at a training seminar: In these times of sales 2.0 and social selling, should we still use the more traditional (offline) channels? My answer is yes. It’s a ‘both/and’, not an ‘either/or’ proposition.
Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in the value of social media presence and interaction for sales people, but it’s not the holy grail. Some sales experts even go as far as saying that the more conversations move online, the more powerful and effective offline conversations will become.
As I believe in numbers, I decided to test for myself. For this test I sent out 30 postcards to sales managers from local small to medium businesses. In the handwritten message on this postcard I promised them an outbound calling script with a minimum success rate of 30%.
This is the exact template I used for my postcard mailing:
Dear Mr/Ms [insert propect's name],
You will receive a free copy of the Sales Sells report on setting appointments over the phone.
In this report you will find:
- an outbound calling script that guarantees a minimum success rate of 30% (that’s one appointment for every 3 to 4 calls made);
- a list of results from sales people in different industries to which you can compare the results of your sales team.
I will call you in a couple of days to see when is the best time to hand you your copy of the Sales Sells report.
Wim Wilmsen, Sales Coach
As you can see this is a very short and simple message. Three paragraphs and a lot of whitespace. This alone makes it stand out from all those long, boring marketing brochures people receive every day. After all you only have one, maybe two, seconds to grab people’s attention. The fact that it’s handwritten only increases the chances that it will actually get read.
But you’re probably wondering what my follow-up call sounded like. It was something like this:
“Good morning Mr/Ms [insert prospect's name]. Last week I sent you a postcard on which I promised to give you a free copy of the Sales Sells report on setting appointments over the phone. I wanted to know if Thursday 9 a.m. would be okay?”
The results? I got no less than 17 appointments. That’s a success rate of 56%. Not bad I would say!
To make this method work it’s important to have an attractive bait. In this case the report promises a success rate of minimum 30%, which is way better than the results most sales managers are seeing from their sales team.
Key is also not to start selling on the phone. You’re calling to set the appointment, not to close the sale. These are two entirely different things. The actual sales talk takes place when you meet with the prospect:
“As I promised I have brought you a copy of the report. I will tell you all about it in a minute but I would first like to ask you a couple of questions, if that’s OK with you?”
There you go, right into the needs analysis. You see how elegant this is?
I’ve already done 6 of the sales meetings that I set through this postcard mailing and I must say they went great. I welcomed one new customer and will be meeting with two prospects for a second time next week.
So what did I learn from this experiment? ‘Old’ methods still work. While it’s important to engage in social media and build your online presence, I would advise you not to put all your eggs in one basket. There are many other opportunities out there and if you don’t seize them, your competitor will.