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Turn Suspects into Advocates
by Ray Jutkins

In order to be successful with either a business or consumer lead generation program, you must:
- Think like your suspect (a suspect is somebody who, on paper, meets your criteria of a potential customer).
- Plan your program with your suspect in mind.
- Organize your lead generation program with the media tools that are most likely to be effective with your suspect audience. (i.e., see it like your suspect will see it!)

Above, I defined a suspect. Now let's define the rest of the lead generation process.

- The next step on the ladder is a prospect. A prospect is someone from your suspect audience who is willing to talk to your sales rep. Prospects raise their hands and acknowledge they are interested in you, your offer, a demonstration, the opportunity you present ... something. Consequently they become prospects.

- After that, you turn the prospect into a customer. A customer is a prospect who actually buys something from you. Probably, a small customer, initially a customer nevertheless.

- Then the customer becomes a client. A client is your best customer. The old 80/20 rule —20 percent of your customers give you 80 percent of your business.

- The top rung is for advocates. Advocates sell for you, but you don't pay them. They are your best clients. They recommend you and suggest to others that they buy what you have to sell. They give you leads. They think you're the finest there is in your field.

We should constantly try to move suspects to prospects to customers to clients to advocates.

How can we do it? Here are 10 key points suspects will consider before becoming prospects. If you also take these into consideration, you’ll be able to convert suspects to customers to advocates:

1. Does the package look interesting? Interesting is a subjective term.

2. Does it make you want to get involved with this organization?

3. Is the offer a good value? An offer is so important in the success of any direct response program.

4. How does this offer compare to others? What is the competition doing? Make sure you know what is happening in the marketplace.

5. Is it easy to place an order or easy to get more information? Have you included a response devise of some kind?

6. Suspects may be very skeptical. Make sure they are going to be comfortable with what you offer.

7. If you were the suspect, would you want to do any business with this company? Is it the kind of organization you would want to deal with? What is its reputation in the marketplace? Would you feel comfortable dealing with it?

8. Because you are not sure how your suspect will be most comfortable doing business with you, give them options-directly, through a representative, by phone, by mail.

9. Are you in the marketplace on a continuing and ongoing basis? Are you visible? Are you making your suspect audience aware of what you have to offer? Are you creating a good image? Make sure you can answer all of these questions positively.

10. Provide suspects with new ideas, new thoughts, and make them friends.

If you'll become a suspect for your business and walk yourself through these 10 points, soon you'll see whether you're doing the best possible job in leading your suspects to become prospects to turn into customers and clients and then become advocates.

About Ray Jutkins, October 3rd, 1936 — January 6th, 2005. Ray was one of the NMOA’s most generous contributors. Over the years Ray supplied the NMOA with hundreds of tips and articles for members. This is just one of many. Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa. Keep an eye out for more of Ray’s marketing tips and how-to articles in the pages of Direct Marketing Digest and the article archive on the NMOA website.

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