I had a good business selling life insurance, health insurance, annuities and employee benefits to small business owners in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1975 to 1995. But in the early years I struggled with consistency. I had good months and I had bad months. Some really good months. And some really bad months. It was quite frustrating and discouraging! I thought about quitting almost every day because it seemed to be such a difficult business.
Initially I found prospects mostly through direct mail and referrals. And I worked those leads persistently until I felt they would never do business with me.
Then I deleted them from my prospect list in order to avoid wasting time and effort chasing after non responsive prospects. Which meant that I was constantly replacing old leads with new leads. And it was a “hit or miss” process. Either they were ready to buy, or they weren’t. And if they weren’t, I discarded them.
But I didn’t like the ups and downs of my production, and the irregularity of my income. Inconsistent production didn’t suit my personality either. It was too stressful. I didn’t like the uncertainty, and I didn’t like imposing myself on people because I needed to make a sale. I just wanted to know that I always had qualified prospects interested in talking with me about what I had to offer. I also wanted to be thought of as a professional - someone my clients respected and appreciated.
Then quite by accident, I discovered the almost incredible power of “drip” marketing. At the time I didn’t know it as “drip” marketing, but that’s what it was. It started with a hard-copy monthly newsletter mailed out to all my clients and prospects. Remember that this was back in the days before the internet and email. So these were sent out through the post office.
I soon added brief one page summary “overviews” (sometimes including simple diagrams) of concepts like buy/sell funding, salary continuation, and business succession - which I sent out every two weeks. Then I began adding articles I copied out of Forbes or Money magazines, and began mailing something to my clients and prospects every week. But every time I sent something, I NEVER asked for a meeting or for them to call me. And in the beginning I didn’t call them either. I simply shared interesting content related to financial security for business owners and their employees because I thought it was my “job” to keep them informed of such things.
And it was fun for me to look for, collect, and share this information with people. I felt like I was really giving them useful information, and helping them learn about important components to their financial security, without trying to sell them something. And you know what happened? They started calling me! My leads and my clients were calling me! Not all at once of course - but gradually and consistently. After a few months, I was getting about 1% of my list to reach back out to me every week. They would call with questions, ask for more information, or even schedule a meeting with me. I even got some unsolicited referrals based on what I had sent them.
Then I discovered that if I called everyone of my clients and prospects once a quarter as a friendly but professional courtesy to follow up on something I had recently sent them, I would get many more of them to schedule a meeting with me or give me referrals. It became very methodical and consistent and stress free!
The list I started with was made up of about 80 business owner clients, and about 400 prospects I had collected over the first few years of my business. So I was getting 4 to 5 sales opportunities from my list every week. Now that might not seem like a lot, but these were all small business owners or professionals who were interested and receptive to me because something I sent them either triggered an immediate need, or at least a serious interest in a specific topic. But more importantly, every one of my prospects seemed to like me and trust me because they had been receiving interesting and valuable information from me without any explicit sales pitch - which gave me tremendous confidence and encouragement!
Back then I would spend about an hour a day finding articles or creating one page explanations or diagrams to send out each week. Then I would have my wife make copies with little post it notes, put them in envelopes with address labels we printed out on the copier, and mail them out with first class postage. The postage alone cost me more than $100 a week in the beginning. And that was for a list of only 500! But it was well worth it, because the business I got from this list was very profitable. Of course it took a couple of months before I actually got paid on the results of my “drip” marketing. But within 3 or 4 months, I could count on consistent and profitable results.
And since it worked so well, I began spending another hour a day adding more prospects to my list. I bought leads, I asked for referrals, and I continued to send out direct mail postcards. Every lead I collected went onto my list, and got sent my weekly “letter”. It was methodical, produced consistent results, and most importantly - it was profitable. Gradually I built my list up to about 200 business owners and about 600 families.
And it was so encouraging to have qualified prospects calling me with interest and questions on specific topics. Prospects who were receptive to me, and would answer or return my phone calls! It changed my attitude and my enjoyment of the business. I looked forward to going into the office every day. I looked forward to talking with people because they were truly interested and they trusted me. As a consequence of all this, my production became much more consistent. I still had good months and bad months. But even in the bad months I had new people to talk with, and I made sales - including more sales to my existing clients! That’s the power of “drip” marketing.
And that’s why I’ve created the WebPrez Automated “Drip” Marketing System . . . a more technologically advanced version of what I did for myself back in the 80s. Not only are the videos much more compelling than the written material I sent out back then, but the technology makes it much easier and more affordable too!