Selling probably comprises the single most important aspect of your business, but most small businesses don’t have the kind of capital required to purchase expensive databases. What’s required is a little bit of lateral thinking and a willingness to do it yourself.
Leverage your contacts.
Consider for a moment how many people you meet every day in the course of your business. If you were to collect business cards from all of those people, how many contacts could you have? There’s nothing stopping you from using these contacts to build up your own database.
In fact, Scott Cundill, internet marketing specialist and founder of Majestic, a lead generation and database creation tool, believes that this kind of database is far more valuable than any database you can buy. A bought database is designed for cold-calling, but Cundill argues that it’s far more effective to use a database that contains people with whom you already have a relationship. “Data is worthless,” he points out, “It’s the relationship you have with the people that’s important.”
Nurture your relationships.
Small business owners looking for a DIY database solution need to realise, however, that such relationships don’t just exist. They need to be nurtured. “This requires regular and personalised communication,” says Cundill, whose software solution and technique teach small businesses how to foster value-adding relationships with their contacts so that they can start generating leads for their business.
A three-point relationship building process. He explains that the relationship building process involves three things. The first is a personal touch – every communication that leaves your business needs to be personalised and from you, not your brand. “It can be backed by a brand but it needs to come from a real person. People form relationships with people, not brands,” says Cundill. Once you’ve established personal connection, you need to stay in regular contact. Finally, you need to establish credibility and trust.
Cost-effective tool to maximise your base. Cundill explains that the Majestic product can help small businesses to create databases in this way, that they can then mine. “Put simply, once you have a strong relationship with your database, you then communicate with them by asking them questions. The answer to those questions (data) can then be used to sell something to those qualified prospects that they have already actually asked for.” This is a totally different approach to hard-selling, spamming or cold-calling. It’s about using what you already have i.e. a contact base of people, and maximising it to your business’s benefit – and all at a fraction of the price you would usually pay.