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Points of Contact

They say it takes seven points of contact to make a sale. I believe that number has changed recently with the number of additional messages we are bombarded with everyday on the internet (went from 300 to 3,000).

What does that mean? People need to hear your name seven times to actually buy into you, or think seriously about it. It helps if touch points come from different sources. Maybe the first is meeting you in person. Then they find your business card in their pocket some time later. Maybe they visit your web site. External ones are great because they usually build credibility - someone else talks about you, they read an article you've written or maybe see you speak and suddenly you're an expert. Then finally, they get your newsletter one day and say 'You know, that (insert name) is pretty smart. Maybe we should ask him to help us with that project.'

As people in sales positions, we need to consider a couple of things about these points of contacts: what are they, what could they be AND is the branding message consistent, up to your high standards.

Touch points can be your business card, an ad, a brochure, or a client talking about you. How can you increase the number and variety of these? Some are simple sales tools like being sure to follow up after meeting someone and making yourself referable so other people talk about you (talk to Michael Hepworth about those ideas). Ideas for adding more options include creating a regular newsletter to provide helpful information and remind people you're around; send greeting cards to say Thank You or Happy Thanksgiving; send gifts that people like and use like pens, calendars or something that really says something about your business. Make the most of all public situations by thinking ahead. For example, look for opportunities to speak somewhere and then be sure to have something to hand out. Could be swag, an info kit, a brochure or a hardcopy of your newsletter.

Get creative - word of mouth campaigns, talking business cards, temporary tattoos, etc.

The key to making these points of contact add up to something is to make them all consistent by controlling the quality and the message. This starts with clearly defining your brand. The brand message should extend to every point of contact that is encountered by the public. That means not just the design - all colours, fonts, quality and other elements being on target in the materials you use, but also the quality. You shouldn't hand out a beautiful business card that leads them to an amateurish website. Customize the newsletter, develop branded greeting cards you can have handy for any occasion. Work with a professional to develop some sort of gift with your logo and URL on it that's both useful, fun and utterly appropriate for your company. Think ahead - how are you going to make an impact at that trade show and then get people to remember you later?

Just remember that everything from the business card you hand out to the way your receptionist answers the phone is a point of contact. Would you hire a financial planner who drives a beat-up old car? Clearly defining and creating that common message not only helps you and your staff but also helps others toot your horn for you.

Faith Seekings is the owner of Faith Seekings Design. She works with businesses owners to help align their business goals with their business image. She can be reached at 416.368.8956 or email faith@faithseekingsdesign.ca.

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