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Are You Killing Your Golden Geese?
by Joe Gracia

We've all heard the story about the greedy thieves who stole the goose that laid glimmering, golden eggs. The thieves were so impatient and greedy that instead of waiting for the goose to lay her golden eggs, they decided to kill her so that they could get all the gold from within her immediately.

Of course, instead of getting a windfall of riches, they got nothing. They killed the golden goose.

Are you killing your golden geese without knowing it? It's easy to do, and we see it happening every day.

The golden geese we're talking about today, are your prospects -- those potential customers who have expressed an interest in your products or services, but aren't ready to purchase . . . just yet.

When you've been consulting with small business clients for as long as we have, it becomes very clear that while most small business owners have a pretty good understanding of how important their customers are, very few have any understanding of just how important their prospects are.

Here are just a few of the comments we've heard over the years.

'Prospects?? They're just a bunch of tire kickers!'

'We don't have time for prospects! We want customers!'

'If they're not ready to buy today, they're never gonna buy!'

'They're a waste of my time!'

These business owners don't have a clue that they are killing their golden geese. Where do they think paying customers come from?? Every customer had to start out as a prospect.

So what do golden geese have to do with your prospects?

Everything!

If you were given a flock of 100 golden geese that laid solid gold eggs, how would you treat and care for every goose in that flock?

Wouldn't you give them the best feed, and provide them with excellent shelter and protection? Wouldn't you treat them like they were each worth a million dollars?

Of course, you would! Because they would make you rich!

Then why don't you treat your prospects with the same special care and attention?

I can now hear some of you saying, 'But, Joe and Maria, it's not the same thing. Most of my prospects who have contacted me are probably never going to buy anything.'

True. Perhaps as many as 80% won't buy anything, but what about the 20% who will? Listen very carefully, great fortunes are made from that 20%.

Not everyone who walks into a store, buys something. We are all 'browsers' before we become 'buyers.'

Imagine if store managers started telling 'browsers' -- prospects -- that they will have to leave the store immediately unless they buy something. That would be ludicrous -- those store managers would be killing their golden geese. At least 20% of those browsers may become buyers sometime in the future.

Let's think about your flock of 100 geese like this.

Today, all 100 of those geese are ordinary geese, but with special care and attention over the next twelve months, 20 of those ordinary geese will magically turn into golden geese that will provide you with extraordinary wealth.

The problem is, you don't have a clue which of your flock of 100 geese will turn into those special golden egg layers. Each one would be a surprise. And each one would transform at a different time; a few within a week or two; a few more may take two months to transform; and some may even take the entire year before they begin providing you with what you want -- golden eggs.

You would never know which of the geese within your flock would become golden geese, or when. In order to reap your rewards, you would have to treat and care for each and every one of them as if they were all golden egg layers.

This is exactly what happens with a list of properly cared for prospects. Week after week, month after month, more and more of your prospects on your list will transform from ordinary prospects into extraordinary paying customers -- and you'll never know which ones they will be!

Let me ask you another question. If you had such a flock of geese, how big would you like to grow your flock? Remember, 20% will eventually provide you with golden eggs.

I hope you said, 'As big as possible!'

The bigger your prospect list, and the better you care for the people on it, the bigger your sales!

Repeat that phrase over and over in your mind.

It's the missing link in most small business owners' marketing strategies. They are losing out on thousands of dollars in sales, by simply killing their golden geese.

Are you killing your golden geese? If you answer no to any of the following questions, then you may very well be doing just that.

1) RESPOND TO YOUR PROSPECTS:

If a prospect calls and requests more information, do you get back to them immediately?

2) CAPTURE PROSPECT INFO:

When prospects contact you to request your free info- pak, or brochure, or just have a question about your product or service, do you capture all of their follow- up information -- name, address, e-mail, and/or phone number?

3) BUILD A PROSPECT LIST:

Do you put that prospect information into a computer database or, at minimum, add it to a physical list of prospects?

4) FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR PROSPECTS:

If you do have a prospect list, how are you treating and caring for these potential golden geese? Are you following up with them consistently -- not only with special offers, but also with free information that they may find helpful -- perhaps a newsletter, like this one?

5) FOLLOW UP MULTIPLE TIMES:

Are you following up with your prospect list more than once? Just because they aren't ready to buy today, doesn't mean that they won't be ready to buy in 6 months. Most prospects buy after the eighth contact!

You don't have to follow up with your prospects in person, by mail or by phone -- although all of those are possibilities -- you can do as we do and follow-up with your prospects inexpensively with an e-mail newsletter.

We have over hundreds of thousands of prospects from our two Web sites and we follow up with all of them every week via e-mail.

In addition to caring for our prospects by providing them with these free e-mail newsletters, we also continue to provide free articles, free case studies, free tutorials, and free tips, etc. on our Web sites.

We do that because we know that every week, more and more of our prospects will become ready to take the next step -- they'll become valuable customers. They'll turn to gold.

Let me give you just one example from our consulting files. A few years ago, I was sitting in the office of a new client when the phone rang. The caller had a few questions about my client's service. She proceeded to answer the questions and then hung up -- without ever asking for the callers name, address or phone number.

I asked her why she didn't ask for this valuable information. Her response was one I had heard hundreds of times before, 'Oh, if they're interested in buying, they'll just call back.'

The problem was, her prospects weren't calling back. That's why she hired us -- to determine how she could get more customers.

We helped her to improve all of her marketing systems, but the greatest impact we had on her business, was convincing her of the incredible value of her prospects, and how vital it was to get them onto her prospect list.

When she met us, her company was generating $300,000 a year. Two years later, she surpassed $1,500,000!

Much of that increase was attributed to the care and special treatment she gave to her rapidly growing list of prospects -- her flock of golden geese. She never let her callers hang up without getting their follow-up information and adding them to her list.

She never killed another golden goose!

If you're not already doing it, we hope from this day forward you will begin treating your prospects like gold. Because that's exactly what they are worth to you!

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