It is hard to believe it has been around 4 months since the last Business Of Software conference. I had a great time attending and met so many interesting people. The next conference (Business Of Software USA) is less than a month away and so I thought it would be a good time to revisit what I learned and to see how it compares and contrasts to any ideas that will pop up next month. Here are 3 ideas that I found most enlightening.
1. People only remember if you repeat things multiple times
In today’s world where we are overloaded with information, it can be hard to get a message across to potential customers. Your emails will likely be lost in the midst of other emails, your leaflets stuffed in a bag for reading later only to be forgotten about and your phone messages ignored as scams or because people do not have enough time to deal with them. Even when an interested party receives your advances they may forget about you in a week. Humans are dreadfully forgetful creatures. That is why there are so many applications and organizers out there to help remind us what we are supposed to be doing.
How are you supposed to combat this? That’s easy. Truly interested people will find your content. And when they do you need to make sure your message is loud and clear and is on everything you send out. It needs to be written in every email, spoken in every phone call, and plastered on every printed media or blog so that people see/hear it so many times that they cannot forget it. It needs to be there so that the people who look you up will recognize your brand, what you do and who you are.
2. Do not stop asking until you get an answer
It can be a slightly awkward situation when you send an email out and do not get a reply back. The person on the other end obviously does not want to respond to you. Or do they? The email may have been overlooked, the person may have been too busy to respond at the time, they may be on holiday or maybe they have left the company. The bottom line is that you cannot be sure because you do not know, so you have to keep asking until you get an answer.
Obviously, you should not automatically set an email to be sent every day (this may send the wrong kind of pushy message). You can send a polite email every few weeks or months to remind the person that they still have not gotten back to you. Do this until they notice you and reply. Any email back is a sign of victory even if it is simply the person telling you they do not require your services. You have been heard in this case and can be confident that you have not missed a potential customer.
3. Arrange the next step in advance
When a customer first inquires about a product this is where the real fun begins. To settle a sale could take anything from a few hours to a few months (years in some extreme cases!). Most customers get to trial our Java PDF Library, PDF to HTML5 Converter and other products first. If it fits all of their requirements then they email us to ask questions or for a quote. What we realized after going to BOS Ireland was that we were getting this stage wrong. We replied to the customer with a quote and answering the question but… that was it. We did not let them know what would happen next if they decided to take the quote. When asking if they would like a call to discuss an issue we never set a date or time. By letting them know what would happen next we were effectively ‘leaving the ball in their court’ which meant they could leave that time open for us or reschedule. It sped negotiations up too as the customer knew what their journey/end destination was. It combined what we had separated as two steps into one and made the sales process a lot smoother.
So there you have it – 3 ideas that really stuck with me after going to BOS Europe 2016.