Automate, Automate, Automate So You Can Focus on the Important Stuff
I read Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” years back and have been using the advice ever since. Habit number one, in particular, gives advice I've come back to over and over again.
Covey explains that we have both important and urgent tasks. Not all urgent tasks are important, but they sometimes feel that way. Take answering the phone or keeping minute-by-minute track of your email. In modern day social media, responding to people on Facebook and Twitter feels urgent.
But is it really all that important?
The problem is your urgent stuff can easily get in the way of getting to the important stuff. Worse yet, sitting on an important not-yet-urgent task can unintentionally convert it into festering urgent tasks that now creates a crisis.
In sales, there are lots of these:
- time consuming and
- difficult to manage tasks.
For lack of time, we sit on them until a crisis erupts or, worse yet, a good opportunity goes to waste.
Let me give you some examples of important tasks that I have put off for lack of time:
- Following up with a prospect who’s gotten a proposal, but for months hasn’t decided either way.
- Keeping up with strong referrals that won’t return a phone call or email.
- Reaching out to your happy clients about different products I can offer them (cross sell).
I do need to follow up with a hot lead, close those deals and make sure I deliver on client projects. But as important and urgent as those might be, I have to keep my sales pipeline full. If I continue to postpone lead generation, I'm looking at some very lean months in the not so distant future.
Here’s a suggestion I have to address this problem:
Automate. Automate. Automate.
What do I mean?
I can create follow-up sequences using a tool called InfusionSoft to automate tasks that require consistent followup over a long period of time. A follow up sequence is a time line configured to automatically send a series of:
- text message or
- mail pieces.
And it can be made smart so if the receiver takes some sort of action, you can change the next thing you send them.
I can easily write an article or produce a video describing how an email marketing campaign worked for one of my clients. I can explain how article marketing works and how it can improve search engine results. The point of the material is to showcase a solution or demonstrate the expertise I have and how it can help my clients.
I then schedule InfusionSoft to automatically send this information via email, voicemail or whatever way I choose to engage the client every two to four weeks.
Now keep in mind, the point here is NOT to get them to pick up the phone and call me, but to:
- Educate them on a solution they may not completely understand,
- Reinforce a message I may have already given them in person and
- Position myself as a reliable resource they can trust when the time is right.
If I had to do all this manually, I'd never get to it. It takes too much time and I’d prioritize other things above it.
With Infusion, all I do is add the prospect or client to the follow up sequence, something that’s really easy to do, and they get my messages. And you can spread out the timing of the messages to meet your needs.
This gets me results because people who are interested in something today usually stay interested. A simple change in their personal life, a promotion or any changes in the specifics of the business can get them to call you. This is only possible because I stayed in touch with them so they remembered me.
This approach has another advantage. It can help you get referrals. Many people receiving your messages may NOT have a need for what you do, but they may be willing to share your information with people who do. With the simple education you can give them, these folks who are already sold on you, can easily become a great lead generators for you.
To egg this sort of behavior along, you can include a referral request in one of the messages you send. You can make it a simple email or use Infusionsoft to get your contact to provide you with the name and contact information of people they know. You’d be surprised at how quickly someone happy doing business with you will refer you to someone they know. And with a tool like InfusionSoft, you can even send them an automatic thank you when they respond.
The power of the Internet is now available to everyone. Solutions that did not exist a few years back or were priced so high only larger businesses could afford them are now packaged for small businesses. These tools can now be used to harness the power of the Internet, generate leads, work more efficiently and outright grow your business.
Hope this helps!