Idea of The Week: This guy saved my life!

 > The Situation:
On the phone. With Barry Tupper of FPInnovations in Halifax. Planning a seminar series for his members (people who make beautiful things out of wood before they sell it) in Newfoundland. This is exciting. A chance to get back to the rock. But that’s not today’s item. The item is a little gem that Barry dropped while we were talking about how to follow through after the seminars. Our chat reminded him of his old friend, the late John Portelance, a well known wood broker who served companies throughout Eastern Canada. Why did Barry remember John? Keep reading…

 > The Idea:
He remembered John Portelance because John had an incredibly effective way of staying in touch with clients – an approach that made him famous. He simply asked every male client for their wife’s birthday. Then, he called these clients – systematically, one week ahead of time – to remind them of this (vitally) important occasion.

 > The Risk:

“He saved my life,” Barry said. “And it’s not something you can forget. He was famous with everyone in this industry – from Ontario through the Maritimes.” Yes, there is a risk in doing this kind of thing – the risk that you get it started, then let it fizzle out – disappointing people along the way. Barry knows because he has seen others try to emulate John’s program, with exactly that fizzle-out result. Too bad.

 > The Reward:

John’s ‘touch program’ (marketing talk for finding good ways to stay in touch) worked because it was perceived as a valuable service – not just a mechanical process, such as sending thank you cards after every sales appointment, or greeting cards on every special occasion (yes, when done well, these approaches can be very effective. But. There is no tangible ‘service’ or ‘value’ to the client, as there was in John’s program). The reward: Gratitude. And fame. Another great example of personal branding. (And, all other things being equal, very good for business!)

 > The Call to Action:

I stay in touch with your Marketing Dangerously newsletter, and ‘helpful’ daily networking. I have clients who stay in touch with their tip of the week blogs and newsletters. Others use ‘drip marketing’ programs such as fax and email ‘specials’ flyers that go out to everyone who has ever inquired  – as well as their regulars. Question: How are you staying in touch with the people in your market? (Oh, and is there a birthday you need to remember?)

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  1. That was exactly how he was and one of the many little reasons why we miss him!

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