By Neen James
Special to the Legal
Recently, while chatting to one of my clients, he asked, "If my potential prospects are limiting their access to e-mail, how can I reach them?"
I was secretly delighted to hear some people are limiting their access to e-mail (but that is a topic for another blog).
Here are a few ways you can communicate with influence without using e-mail as your primary tool. Each of these will take you no more than 15 minutes. We are all responsible for practice development, and if you want to grow your book of business for the firm, try a few of these ideas.
- Call to invite your contact to a tele-coffee. What is a tele-coffee? You make a coffee, and they make a coffee, and you talk on the telephone … for no more than 15 minutes! I do tele-cocktails on Fridays (love those!).
- Send a hand-written note. No one does this anymore, but precisely because we have so much electronic communication, your contact will appreciate the personal touch.
- Send a magazine subscription. You can do so for usually less than $20, and you could include a note: "I know you don't have time to read all your e-mail but thought you might have a few minutes to enjoy a magazine … would like a chance to connect and share with your what our firm could do for you." The creative approach will win you points!
- Send a postcard with a personalized message on the back. Same idea as the hand-written note, but postcards stand out in people's mail piles. I like to send Aussie postcards with scenes and phrases that make people smile (it helps that I am Australian!). What is memorable about you and your firm that could also be shown on a post card?
- Send a parcel -- everyone loves presents! It could contain a recommended book, journal or sample of your product. Include a note suggesting you get together by phone to chat about the book/journal/sample. I once sent a jar of peanut butter and jelly to the director of very large cable company with a note "I know you don’t have time for lunch, but maybe a quick PBJ sandwich?" (I don’t even eat PBJ -- that is definitely an American institution -- but I found out that was his favorite sandwich). That package led to many fabulous opportunities, great relationships and a very profitable client.
- Send a LinkedIn request. Okay, so this one does appear in their inbox, but people take notice of invitations to connect and often take a moment to read your bio.
- Call and invite them to a networking event. Offer to host them, introduce them to others they would benefit from knowing and connect at the same time -- very productive!
- Text them. No, you don’t have to be up on the latest text talk (e.g. LOL, BRR), but you can quickly and easily ask if they have time tomorrow to chat by phone. Not many people use text wisely for connecting; it is personal, quick and usually gets a response.
- Search social media profiles, and direct message on Twitter or send a Facebook message. These are alternative communication strategies and will appeal to different clients.
- Create a video. Create a 30 second invitation to connect with you (you can do this on your iPad using iMovie, or the camera in your laptop), upload to YouTube and send a link inviting them to coffee (these videos can also be texted). Okay, I admit this is another email; but you have to admit it is a creative one! Note: You might want to also make sure this is approved according to your firm’s social media policy.
Your prospects and current clients do want to hear from you -- you just need to get clever, cut through the clutter, be creative and do this more productively. It only takes 15 minutes -- which strategy will you try first?
Neen James, MBA CSP, is the President/CEO of Neen James Communications, LLC. An international productivity expert and native born Aussie, James delivers engaging keynotes that have educated, and entertained audiences with real-world strategies that apply in all roles, whether at work or in life. She also provides one-on-one consulting and mentoring to women on a variety of business issues and topics. To find out more about James, visit her at www.neenjames.com/bio, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @neenjames.