It is the goal of every marketing campaign to fill your calendar with high-quality prospects. There is a two-fold process in achieving that goal: build a list of prospects who have given you permission to send them information on a regular basis and secure permission to meet with them in order to discuss how a specific idea can benefit them.

In designing your marketing plan, begin by identifying those methods that have the most appeal to you. For example, if you cringe at the thought of making cold calls, do not build that into your marketing plan — unless of course you are new and have no other alternatives.

It is important to utilize a minimum of two different marketing strategies. You might combine direct mail with a strategy of attending two networking groups every week. You might seek out public speaking opportunities and work on leveraging the LinkedIn connections of your clients.

The key to marketing success is consistency of message and methods across all channels. If you do not use the same message, you cannot identify which messages resonate with your target audience. Nor can you identify which message provides the appointments with the highest probability of converting into clients.

It is also critical that you remember to never attempt to overcome an objection to the appointment. Instead, seek permission to add the prospect to your newsletter and/or to send a free report. In the absence of an appointment, we want to begin building a relationship so that in the future we have the competitive edge.

Create your plan

With your marketing strategies chosen, you must create a plan of action. The first rule is to focus on daily activities. Daily activities might be to send 10 letters per day to a prospect list. You might schedule a lunch appointment with a client to review his or her LinkedIn connections and identify five to 10 great referrals. Then, schedule time into your calendar to follow up with those referrals. If you do not schedule time into your calendar you will never achieve success, because things will always crop up that get in the way.

Finally, it is imperative that you select a good sales CRM system. I use (and am a reseller for) Base CRM. A good system will allow you to set up a sales funnel so that you can easily see how many prospects are in each stage of the process.

In my world, I work with the following stages:

  • Initial contact. This can be a voice mail, a direct mail piece or other contact other than direct connection.
  • First appointment. I made contact with a decision-maker and scheduled an appointment.
  • Second appointment. A meeting took place and a second appointment has been agreed to.
  • Third appointment. Self-explanatory.
  • Decision point. I have presented and asked for a decision.

At any moment, I can see what I have in the funnel and at what stages. The ability to know this information is far more valuable than you might think. After all, you cannot fix what you cannot measure. You are now ready to sell your heart out.
Schlesinger is an independent consultant focused on helping benefit professionals double their income. Reach him at (336) 777-3938 or

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