They say it takes seven points of contact to make a sale. I believe that number has changed recently with the number of additional messages we are bombarded with everyday on the internet (went from 300 to 3,000).

What does that mean? People need to hear your name seven times to actually buy into you, or think seriously about it. It helps if touch points come from different sources. Maybe the first is meeting you in person. Then they find your business card in their pocket some time later. Maybe they visit your web site. External ones are great because they usually build credibility – someone else talks about you, they read an article you’ve written or maybe see you speak and suddenly you’re an expert. Then finally, they get your newsletter one day and say ‘You know, that (insert name) is pretty smart. Maybe we should ask him to help us with that project.’

As people in sales positions, we need to consider a couple of things about these points of contacts: what are they, what could they be AND is the branding message consistent, up to your high standards.

Touch points can be your business card, an ad, a brochure, or a client talking about you. How can you increase the number and variety of these? Some are simple sales tools like being sure to follow up after meeting someone and making yourself referable so other people talk about you (talk to Michael Hepworth about those ideas). Ideas for adding more options include creating a regular newsletter to provide helpful information and remind people you’re around; send greeting cards to say Thank You or Happy Thanksgiving; send gifts that people like and use like pens, calendars or something that really says something about your business. Make the most of all public situations by thinking ahead. For example, look for opportunities to speak somewhere and then be sure to have something to hand out. Could be swag, an info kit, a brochure or a hardcopy of your newsletter.

Get creative – word of mouth campaigns, talking business cards, temporary tattoos, etc.

The key to making these points of contact add up to something is to make them all consistent by controlling the quality and the message. This starts with clearly defining your brand. The brand message should extend to every point of contact that is encountered by the public. That means not just the design – all colours, fonts, quality and other elements being on target in the materials you use, but also the quality. You shouldn’t hand out a beautiful business card that leads them to an amateurish website. Customize the newsletter, develop branded greeting cards you can have handy for any occasion. Work with a professional to develop some sort of gift with your logo and URL on it that’s both useful, fun and utterly appropriate for your company. Think ahead – how are you going to make an impact at that trade show and then get people to remember you later?

Just remember that everything from the business card you hand out to the way your receptionist answers the phone is a point of contact. Would you hire a financial planner who drives a beat-up old car? Clearly defining and creating that common message not only helps you and your staff but also helps others toot your horn for you.

Author's Bio: 

Faith Seekings
Principal and Creative Director
Faith began her career at Market Partners Communication and Design Inc. in 1996, prior to her final year of Graphic Design at George Brown College. After graduation, she continued her position at Market Partners leading her own projects: designing project identities, sales offices (inside and out), outdoor signage, displays, collateral print materials and full advertising campaigns – primarily for new home builders.
In 2000 Faith moved on to an intermediate position at Jib Media Inc. – honing her skills by creating and art directing a wide array of design and advertising challenges for a variety of clients, developing a strong foundation of experience. In late 2001, Faith set out as an independent and has never looked back.
Faith’s keen eye for design, plus a natural affinity for marketing, advertising, business development and client relations, has allowed her to build the firm to what it is today. Beyond that, she has had articles published and has begun accepting speaking engagements sharing her expertise with business owners. Faith also recently accepted the position of Director at Large for CAWEE (Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs).