The “Green Sheet” Method of Getting Sales Leads

“Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. No one would bother to use advertising if he could talk to all his prospects face-to-face.” – Morris Hite

Lots of people agree (reluctantly) to give talks to promote their businesses. They do it because they believe it helps build their “image.” But imagine giving a talk to a crowded room of potential customers … and turning most of them into sales leads before you leave!

Even better than an image boost, right?

Yet most marketers don’t know how to “work” a speaking opportunity properly to maximize the number of leads and, ultimately, sales generated from their presentation.

The last time you gave a speech to a room of 50 to 100 people, how many approached you when you were done and gave you their business cards? Only a handful, right?

But with the “green sheet” method, you can increase your “capture rate” of attendee names and addresses (that you can mail follow-up promotional material to) to 80 percent or higher.

Here’s how it works …

Before your talk, create a one-page document with some tips, resources, or other valuable content. Print one copy on your laser printer on green offset stock. Bring this one copy only – not multiple copies -to the meeting.

Around the middle of your talk, after making an important point, say something like: “If you’d like more information on this, I have a free tip sheet/resource guide that I can send you.” Hold up the green sheet and continue: “If you want a free copy, just write ‘GS’ for ‘green sheet’ on your business card, and hand it to me after the presentation.”

When you do this, the audience will swarm the podium after you finish speaking, eagerly shoving their business cards at you to get their freebie. In return, you will capture their names and addresses.

If your talk is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, you can use a variation of the green sheet method. Tell attendees they can get a free copy of your PowerPoint e-mailed to them. All they have to do is write “PP” for PowerPoint on their business card and hand it to you.

At some events, the conference sponsor gives attendees a big binder with copies of the PowerPoint presentations already in it. But the reproductions usually have multiple slides per page to save paper, and those smaller slides are difficult to read.

You can then tell attendees, “My PowerPoint is in your conference book, but some of the slides may be hard to read. If you want me to e-mail an electronic copy of the PowerPoint to you, just give me your business card.”

My colleague, Internet marketing expert Fred Gleeck, likes to automate the process. Instead of collecting business cards and sending out the material, he tells attendees to go to a Web page where they can download it. To download the freebie, the visitor has to give you his name and e-mail address – which you capture and add to your e-list.

Of the above variations, my favorite method of capturing leads from speaking engagements remains the “green sheet” method – for a few reasons.

First, it’s proactive. You promise to do the work of sending them the freebie they requested. You don’t sit around and hope they’ll call you or visit your website to get it.

Second, it has the highest capture rate. You get 80 percent or more of the audience giving you their contact information vs. only 20 percent or less who will go to your website after the conference to download the material.

Third, you get all their contact information – including e-mail and snail mail addresses – because you are getting their business card.

Fourth, as audience members hand their business cards to you, a percentage will express interest in not just getting the green sheet, but in exploring the possibility of hiring you or buying your product. Jot a brief note about their needs and requests on the back of the business card they hand you, and follow up the next day when you get back to the office.

When you put these name-capture techniques into practice, you will double or triple your seminar leads. You can also use them to get more high quality leads from any workshops you run.

As Fred Gleeck points out, the quality of a sales lead is proportional to the proximity of the prospect. When you get a click on your site from an Internet user in Hong Kong, the likelihood of doing business with him is slim. But if you get a phone call from a postcard mailing you did to prospects in your town, the lead quality – and likelihood of closing a sale – go up, because the prospect is much closer to you.

At a seminar or speech or workshop, the prospect is as close to you as he can get – literally in the same room. And so lead quality … and the chances of a sale … are at their highest.

But to close those leads, you have to first get them. You do that by asking for them proactively – using the “green sheet” method.

[Ed. Note: Bob Bly is a popular Early to Rise columnist, self-made multi-millionaire, and the author of more than 60 books. He is also the editor of ETR’s Direct Marketing Masters Edition – a program to help you start your own successful direct-mail business.]
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