Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Michelle Pippin . Here’s that interview.
About the interviewee
B. Michelle Pippin is nationally recognized as the go-to profit strategist for Main Street America’s business owners. In edition to being President of her small consulting firm, which works primarily with professional firms and practices, Michelle is also at the helm of Women Who WOW, an organization created exclusively to support women entrepreneurs committed to unreasonable business results. More business strategy can be found on her blog at www.bmichellepippin.com.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
My primary office is located in a quaint office park in Chesapeake, Virginia serving professional firms and practices from all over the country. I have 3 part time employees.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
My clients are primarily professional firms and practices (legal, medical, consulting) that have anywhere from 3 to 20 employees. I work with experts who are the best at what they do and want their income to reflect this superiority.
What comes to mind when you see this topic?
My first thought is how much mysticism and B.S. theory is applied to this topic. Business decision makers are people — nothing more, nothing less — just like the people trying to reach them.
The best news is that because people think “decision makers” are so hard to reach, there are fewer and fewer people targeting them directly. This thins the herd of those you are competing with, which is a very good thing.
Lastly, far too many people who think business decision makers are “hard to reach” have only tried once — maybe twice. Be persistent. True men and women of influence are likely to ignore a timid salesperson or CEO. So, choose your targets well, and use creativity and persistence to reach them.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
I have two specific strategies that work predictably and effectively:
— Let them get to know you with a well-choreographed direct mail campaign. The first mailing should include a gift… or something to make the mail piece bulky. These bulky mail pieces get opened. Plus, because direct mail is being used less and less in favor of digital options (that cheap and lazy business owners rely on exclusively) you’ll show up with less competition. Don’t be afraid to fully customize a direct mail campaign for a decision maker whose YES represents huge wins for your firm.
— Approach their assistant and ask for a brief interview with the CEO for an article you’re writing for your blog or another media outlet for which you write. This is a great strategy as people LOVE to give advice and share their wisdom. It begins the relationship on a high note and opens doors.