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Business Building On The Go

July 3, 2011
Mary Jane Copps

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Earlier this year an energetic young entrepreneur attended one of my half-day workshops and introduced herself to me afterwards. She was ready to incorporate a lot of my suggestions into her business-building approach and we have stayed in touch through email, LinkedIn and, of course, the telephone.

Her name is Menna Riley, owner of Parlour Room Event Productions.She recently approached me with a challenge – how can she use the phone to build her business even though she is constantly on the move?

“The business is growing through word of mouth. I do lots of networking and I have a high percentage of repeat clients,” she told me. “I’m about to launch a new service that I think will benefit from some cold calling, but it’s not like I’m sitting at a desk and can spend a day – or even hours – dialing.”

Her new service adds a touch of glamour and sophistication to at-home entertaining. For someone hosting corporate guests, or organizing an elegant wedding reception, or creating a large reunion gathering in honour of a milestone birthday or anniversary, Menna will provide full staff management.

“For these types of events you don’t want to have to send your nephew to the liquor store three or four times during the course of the party. You want to be able to enjoy your guests, not keep an eye on supplies.”

Menna will organize bartenders, wait staff, catering – and help with the creative such a choosing a theme and the décor. You’ll be able to attend your own gathering without giving your guests’ comfort a second thought.

But how to get the word out?

Given Menna’s hectic schedule I’m going to suggest that she put effort into creating a very solid call list. It needs to focus on a demographic that will have the budget for these types of events: CEO’s, regional Vice-Presidents, lawyers, financial advisors, physicians, dentists, etc. A good place to start might be the Progress Top 101 list, or Progress’ Book of Lists. It is important that, wherever possible, her list include email addresses.

My next suggestion is an elegant, eye-catching e-brochure that can be easily sent out as an attachment or, even better in terms of avoiding email security screening, within the body of the message or as a link.

Once these two items are taken care of, it will be time to call. For this business-building exercise, it’s not necessary to reach the person in real time. The work can be done through an energetic and enticing voicemail message and followed by an exciting and detailed email.

Roughly, here’s what the voicemail message can say:

“Hi Jane Brown, this is Menna Riley calling you from Parlour Room Event Productions. The reason for my call today is to let you know about our new services. We are taking our skills at creating amazing public events and making them available to you at home. Whether you are planning an exclusive corporate dinner or a large family celebration, we can make sure you enjoy your gathering as much as your guests. We’ll handle everything from food to bartending, décor to clean up. I’m going to take the liberty of sending you more details by email but if you wish to reach me in person please call me at 476-3374. That’s 476-3374. And do look for me in your inbox. Thanks so much!”

That’s it – Menna’s business will grow as a result of leaving this message with as many people as she can find the time to call. She can even make the calls outside traditional business hours because there is no request for a callback.

This message gets the word out, which is the purpose of cold calling. Sales, on the other hand, has a lot to do with timing. The more people that receive this message from Menna, the more likely she will connect with someone at exactly the right moment, when they are faced with planning at at-home event. These people will get in touch, her client base will expand, word-of-mouth will bring more business.

One other idea: When calling CEOs, Menna can ask to speak directly to the Executive Assistant (EA) and send them the email. This holds the possibility of the information being widely distributed within the organization.

Thanks Menna, for trusting me to discuss this in my blog!

 

Happy dialing everyone! TPL

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