Going in for the Kill

[Baron von Richthofen, also known as The Red Baron, was considered one of the great flying aces of World War One. But what made him so great? A major tactic in his strategy was to always finish off his opponent and “go in for the kill.”
The Baron would have made a great marketing professional. When it comes to marketing tactics, many companies don’t carry all the way through with their marketing programs. They typically fall just short of conclusion. And, unlike the Baron, they don’t go in for the kill.
So what do we mean by not going in for the kill? The following are just some of the many examples we see on a regular basis:
– Sending out direct mail and never following up.
– Running print ads without a strong call-to-action.
– Giving up on an interested prospect after just a couple of calls.
– After a networking event, not following up with the new contacts in a timely manner.
– Most leads generated at a trade show are either followed up with too late, or, even worse, are never followed up with at all.
The typical marketer makes it a priority to chase after new business prospects and when they finally get close, they either stop or put it off for so long that the prospect has lost interest or, dare we say, purchased from a competitor. This is only one of many examples we see regularly, but the point here is if you want marketing to work at its highest level, you have to go in for the kill.
Why does this happen? The most common reason we see is that there is no secondary plan in place to deal with the low-level tactics. What happens once someone responds? When strategic plans are created, they usually outline top-level strategy. Plans do not typically have a secondary plan that goes into this low-level “how are we going to close the business” tactical detail. Yet this stage of the prospect courtship may be the most crucial stage of all. So a prospect that you’ve worked so hard to identify and cultivate simply falls off your radar screen because you didn’t have a plan in place designed to go in for the kill.
So what do we suggest? Never execute any plan until you know exactly how you’re going to finish it off. Always have the next steps figured out before you execute. Take a close look at your marketing plans to see if they do in fact go in for the kill. If not, it’s most likely costing you in lost opportunity revenue.
Until next month…

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