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Gentle Rain

How to Create a Steady Stream of New Clients. Quickly. Easily. With No Cold Calling.

Gentle Rain Marketing


720 Rio Grande Drive Alpharetta, GA 30022 (770) 643-8566 www.GentleRainMarketing.com 2007 Gentle Rain Marketing, All rights reserved.

Gentle Rain Marketing

www.GentleRainMarketing.com

How This Report is Organized:


We begin with an overview of Gentle Rain and some information about how the process was developed. As well discuss further, Gentle Rain is based on interviews we conducted with 179 business owners and senior level decision makers on what they considered to be the most effective methods for developing new business relationships. Since 1992 over 1100 clients have used Gentle Rain as their preferred method for new business development. The second part of the report covers the 5 steps involved in Gentle Rain. Lets begin.

Thank you for requesting this special report. We hope you will find it to be both interesting and helpful.

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Section One

SECTION ONE: Background & Overview


Ultimately the success of any business depends upon having a consistent flow of new prospective clients. Unfortunately, far too many individuals rely solely upon their existing clients and referrals as their primary methods for getting new business. While this may prove to be a successful strategy short term, it invariably leads to the feast and famine roller coaster that so many companies experience. Since 1992 we have focused on assisting our clients develop and implement a system for lead generation and conversion. The Gentle Rain methodology requires no cold calling and is specifically designed for companies that are seeking to build long-term relationships with their clients.

Alexs company relied on repeat business from existing clients and referrals. That worked ok, but the unpredictable nature of relying on those two methods never enabled Alex to develop a consistent stream of new clients. Realizing he needed to get better at business development, Alex began to dabble, trying a lot of different approaches. I gave a speech but while everyone applauded, I didnt get any new business. I tried networking but I either couldnt find the right kinds of organizations or couldnt seem to break into the inner circle. I even made some cold calls to introduce myself to prospective clients but wasnt able to get past the gate keeper. Six months later, tired and discouraged, Alex felt he was no closer to finding the magic answer than he was when he started.

Like most everyone else we tried networking, speaking, mailing out our brochure, you name it. What we never had was a systematic process that enables us to market our services on a consistent basis. Now we do.
Herman ODonnell, Partner, Operations/Supply Chain Consulting Firm

Section One

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The Gentle Rain Process


The Gentle Rain process focuses on:

The Most Effective Method For Developing New Relationships


The number one method for building new relationships (out of the top ve) was the use of a one-page letter. 82% of those surveyed said that if the letter communicated that the writer specialized in their industry and discussed an issue that they were concerned about, the letter would get read. However, while the letter is a powerful tool for gaining initial awareness, it is limited in what it can realistically motivate the reader to do. The executives were clear that a letter would be unlikely to stimulate them to call the writer to discuss their services. It also, except in rare circumstances, wouldnt make them particularly willing to schedule an appointment and meet the consultant face-to-face. However, if the letter referenced some additional information that could be requested, the executive was likely take that next step. Thus the initial step in Gentle Rain focuses on utilizing a carefully constructed series of one-page letters, which are designed to motivate potential clients to selfnominate, themselves as being worthy of additional follow up. Of course one never wants to rely solely upon one leadgeneration method, thus the letter sequence is often supplemented by direct-response space advertising in specialized trade publications, and through the use of paid internet/pay-per-click strategies. Both of these have proven to be highly successful for increasing visibility, awareness and interest.

1. Targeting a hyper-responsive
group of prospective clients.

2. Identifying the issues that are


of most importance to this group.

3. Motivating them to selfnominate themselves as being interested in learning more about your products or services.

4. Moving them along a sequence


of steps that encourages them to take action. Although the goals of marketing are simple, implementing a process to actually achieve these objectives is anything but simplistic. You will nd that Gentle Rain enables you to seamlessly move prospects from curiosity to taking action through a series of planned (and largely automated) steps. Gentle Rain is used by rms and companies working in such elds as: General Management Strategy Financial Services Human Resources Information Technology Law Materials Management Operations Research and Development Sales and Marketing Executive Search Healthcare Energy and Utilities Retail and Consumer Goods Transportation Hospitality Construction Insurance Communications and Media Manufacturing Commercial Real Estate Food Service

Background of Gentle Rain


In order to better understand how important new business relationships are best developed, we interviewed 179 business owners and key decision makers. In these interviews we asked the following question:
Suppose a company was interested in establishing a business relationship with you, but had no experience working with your company and didnt have a relationship with any members of your inner circle. What would be the best way for them to get on your radar screen?

If you are interested in learning about the other strategies for developing important new senior level relationships you will find our 2-CD audio program enormously valuable. You can find out more about the program What the C-Level SaysSenior Executives Reveal How to Build Professional Relationships with Them at http://www.gentlerainmarketing.com /product_clevel.html

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Section TWO

SECTION TWO: The Gentle Rain Process


There are 5 steps to implementing a successful Gentle Rain campaign. If you focus on these, it is relatively easy to create a marketing system that will consistently brings you a steady stream of new clients.

Determining Who You are Going to Target

Too often this is given only a cursory consideration. Since we all operate on limited marketing budgets and only have time to follow up with those most likely to actually engage our services, identifying the most hyper-responsive sub-groups within a targeted market is very important. In order to identify this group we look for specific traits and behaviors which enables us to segment this group from the larger target market. The result of this approach is that the initial marketing effort is focused where the response is likely to be the greatest. Naturally an important consideration in targeting any group is that they should be able to be reached easily. Since the first step of the Gentle Rain process is the use of a series of lead-generating letters, obtaining the right mailing list is crucial. (While we view email as a very powerful tool for following up and staying in contact with prospective clients, its not an effective tool for gaining the initial awareness.) We dont recommend that you invest time in compiling this mailing list of prospects on your own. While you can certainly supplement an acquired list of prospective clients with people from your own database, contact lists are a modest investment that can pay enormous dividends. Naturally youll want to partner with a top list broker so that the deliverability of your letters is in the 85-95% range. However, to reiterate, not all prospect within a particular market will be equally responsive. Thus you will want to focus your marketing efforts on those most likely to engage your services. If you are interested in learning more about how to identify the most hyper-responsive segments of your market and develop productive relationships with the top list brokers, please call or email us.

Remember that the goal of the one page letter is get prospective clients to raise their hands as being interested in your services. The hook to achieve this is the free special report. The goal of the free report is twofold. First it must contain enough practical information so that the reader feels that they have learned something that they didnt know before. This is crucial for developing credibility. The second objective is to entice the reader to become hungry for more information. This balance of providing enough (but not too much) information is crucial for moving the relationship process to the next steps. One key challenge at this stage is that the free report must get read. Thus it must be written in a manner that engages the reader. This unfortunately rules out most white papers which are far too often written in a ponderous, heavy-handed, quasi-academic style. In order for your special report to stimulate further interest in your services it must answer 5 crucial questions. Failure to address these questions is why so many marketing efforts fail to gain traction. We recommend that your free report be between 4-12 pages in length and be available from your website. Again, if you would like to learn more about how you can ensure your report contains all of the crucial components please give us a call or drop us an email.

Create a Free Information Report

Example of Website

Example of Free Report

Section TWO
Sending the Free Information Report and Collecting Data About Prospective Clients

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Crafting the OnePage Lead Generation Letter

We recommend that you write your lead generating letters after you have created the free special report. Remember the objective of the letter is to position oneself as an industry or functional expert with an interesting perspective on an issue the prospective client may be facing. The feedback from our survey of C-level executives (all of whom purchased high-value services) was that if the letter was intriguing, it would get read. Moreover, if the letter communicates the multiple benefits that one gets from requesting and reading the free report, the executive would take this next step. We cannot emphasize strongly enough that it is a mistake to simply include your report along with your initial letter. We want to require our readers to identify themselves if they want to receive the information. Not doing so makes it virtually impossible to determine whos worth following up with, and whos a waste of effort. Thus, the letters sole purpose is to intrigue the prospective client enough so that they want to request the information. Writing lead generating letters that get read and acted upon is not easy. Thats why most professional writers maintain a clip file of examples that they draw from. To assist consultants and advisors in creating compelling lead generating letters, we created the Directory of Sales and Marketing Letters. Each example is copyright free and includes examples that address a variety of marketing situations. You can use either our fill-in-the-blank templates or cut and paste from our examples to create customized marketing letters in just a couple of hours. More information is at www.GentleRainMarketing.com The Gentle Rain process emphasizes consistency and repetition. We recommend that you develop a series of three letters which will be sent in sequence-each focusing on compelling reasons to request the free report. If you would like to discuss the timing of this sequence or any other issues concerning using letters to drive leads, please call us at 770-643-8566 or send an email to mark@GentleRainMarketing.com

As mentioned earlier, the offer of the free report in your letter should direct prospective clients to your website. As a Big thumb goal you should try to get 65% of these visitors to follow through and ll out the information form to get the report. Although it would seem natural that people going to your site would follow through and request the free report, this is unfortunately not the case. The primary reason is that visitors get distracted. They may not be able to quickly and easily nd the button to request the report, or may become disinterested by other, less-relevant information that appears on the webpage. Care must be taken to ensure that the landingpage you are directing readers to, re-emphasize the benets that will be obtained by requesting the free report. Dont assume that just because visitors are at your site they will automatically do what we want them to. Precisely what information to request becomes a crucial issue at this point. While you want more that just name & email, requesting too much information will suppress response. We believe that there are six pieces of information that you will need to collect to maximize the effectiveness of your subsequent follow-up activities.

The Gentle Rain process works on the premise that through consistent and regular contact we can move prospects through a carefully orchestrated series of steps which results in an identiable percentage of them purchasing our services. Not surprisingly, this regular and consistent follow-up is the step that is most likely to fall through the proverbial cracks. The key is to automate as much of it as possible. Once individuals have requested the report, this should trigger a series of autoresponder messages that are sent out at precise intervals. The key challenges are how often to be in touch and what precisely to communicate. Nail this and your conversion rate will sky rocket. Mess this up and the whole exercise is for naught. We suggest that the initial autoresponder be sent out three hours after the report is requested. It should serve to simply thank the recipient for requesting the information and to introduce yourself. The next series of messages should move the conversion process through a carefully designed series of steps in which you both build credibility for yourself and move the prospect to take action. A question that is often asked is how expensive and difcult is it to set up an automated follow up system? While one can purchase a bare-bones auto-responder for as little as $300, there is a lot of truth to the saying that you get what you pay for. However, if you have adequate programming skills and only want to collect names and email addresses, (which we dont recommend) this may be a suitable option. However, we personally recommend a more robust approach that enables you to customize the data you collect about prospective clients and directly link it to automated relationship-building, follow-up campaigns. The system should enable you to send precisely designated sequences of emails and newsletters, in both text formats and HTML, for brand building purposes. Even a system such as this is very affordable for most small to mid-sized practices.

Automating the Follow Up Process

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Section TWO

Concluding Thoughts and Next Steps

Mark I wanted to write you because I was somewhat skeptical about whether Paid Search/ Pay-Per-Click would actually work for us. At your urging we went ahead and initiated a campaign. With a budget of $25 per day were generating a consistent level of 3-5 good prospects a day. I wish Id started this sooner.

Kim Cassidy, Managing Partner, Human Resources

One of the main challenges facing businesses is not having enough time for marketing. As mentioned previously, this is a particular challenge during the follow-up stage. However, maintaining consistent and regular contact with your prospects is crucial if Gentle Rain is to bear fruit. For those who may be interested, we offer a variety of services that are more fully explained on our website www.GentleRainMarketing.com I hope this report has given you some good food for thought as you are developing your personal marketing strategy. As you can tell from this brief overview of the Gentle Rain process, new business development does not need to involve cold calling or other overt unprofessional sales practices. Rather, marketing is a matter of:

3. Motivating them to selfnominate themselves as being interested in learning more about your services.

4. Moving them along a


sequence of steps that encourages them to take action. Of course as my favorite uncle was fond of saying, We reap the benets of what we actually do, not what we plan on doing someday when were not so busy. If you are serious about implementing a marketing process that can consistently provide you with new clients, we suggest you contact us to discuss how we can assist you quickly, easily and inexpensively implement your own Gentle Rain campaign. I sincerely appreciate your interest in our work and wish you much success in your goal of getting more and better clients.

1. Targeting a hyper-responsive
group of prospective clients.

2. Identifying the issues that are


of most importance to this group. Best Regards, Mark Sattereld

Gentle Rain Marketing

www.GentleRainMarketing.com

Follow up was always our Achilles heel. We had good intentions but little to actually show for it. I thought the process for putting the follow up mostly on autopilot to be extremely valuable.
Steven Van Wyes, Practice Leader, Energy Consulting

About the Author


Mark Satterfield is a founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing Inc. As the creator and architect of the Gentle Rain process he has advised over 1100 clients on the development and implementation of new business pursuit strategies. Gentle Rain has been proven to be successful for clients in North America, Western Europe and South Asia. Prior to founding the firm, Mark held executive positions with Atari, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods in addition to having served as the Director of Career Services for the Graduate School of Business at Emory University. In addition to his consulting work, Mark has written over 250 articles which have appeared in publications including the Atlanta Constitution, the Los Angeles Times and numerous professional, trade and technical journals. He is also the author of five books including, Power Prospecting: How to Gain Access to Key Decision Makers, How to Negotiate the Raise you Deserve, and Business and Career Etiquette. Mark has an undergraduate degree in English from Washington University and a Masters Degree from Norwich University. He is a two-time winner of the Dow Jones award for writing excellence, the AMA award for excellence in management education and has been included in Whos Who in Finance and Industry, Whos Who in Higher Education, Whos Who in the South, What Color Is Your Parachute and many other biographical guides. You can reach Mark by calling 770-643-8566 or email him at mark@GentleRainMarketing.com

About Gentle Rain Marketing Inc.


We assist firms in the follow areas: One-on-one coaching for business owners, partners and principals focusing on developing more consistent methods for generating new business. Development and implementation of customized Gentle Rain campaigns. Customized in-house training seminars on the Gentle Rain process. Creation of direct response advertising campaigns Preparation of direct mail copy and other marketing collateral material Development and implementation of Paid Internet/Pay Per Click marketing campaigns.

CONTACT US
Gentle Rain Marketing
720 Rio Grande Drive Alpharetta, GA 30022 (770) 643-8566 www.GentleRainMarketing.com