What is your warm market and how can the Internet replace it? by Max Steingart

Max SteingartIt’s time you learned the secrets of online relationship building through the use of Instant Messaging Two weeks after I started a new business, Frank, the person that introduced the business to me, came to my home to explain how the business worked. Frank asked me to make a list of all the people that I knew and all the people I had a relationship with. I was to list my family, friends, neighbors, and the people that I worked with and did business with. He called this list my “Warm Market”. I had never heard the term before even though I was familiar with the concept.

Trying to do business with people that know you has always been easier than trying to do business with strangers.

The upscale department store, Nordstrom, would reasonably expect greater success from a promotional mailing to a list of their existing customers than  NULL they would get from a random mailing to a list of people in a specific zip code that were unfamiliar with the store. When Frank handed me a phone script and told me to call everyone on my Warm Market list and tell them about our new business he was following a procedure that has been the mainstay for success in many types of business. Word of mouth recommendations can be very effective. Traditionally, that’s the way many businesses work— you tell the people that you know and they tell the people that they know and so on and so on.

  • Why you want to go to your Warm Market
  • You know a lot of people
  • It is always easier to talk to someone that you know than it is to talk to strangers
  • People are more likely to consider things recommended by their friends
  • The people in your Warm Market like you. What you say to them has more credibility than when they hear the exact same thing from a stranger

Potentially, your Warm Market would appear to be the first place to go when you’re looking for new customers or starting any kind of business.

But sometimes, it isn’t always so.

Why you DON’T want to go to your Warm Market

  • You don’t want to sell to your friends
  • You’re not going to recommend something you’re not sure about
  • You don’t have any credibility with the people that you know
  • You want to talk to your friends after you’ve achieved some success in the business

If you CAN’T or WON’T talk about your business to the people that you know, you have to talk to strangers. Talking to strangers about your business exposes you to a great deal of rejection. The sales cliché, “you have to go through one hundred no’s to get a yes” is familiar to everyone in sales. Like a lot of people, I didn’t want to talk about my new business with the people that I knew for a number of reasons. I’ve always been very passionate and enthusiastic about everything I do.

But initially, I didn’t know enough about the new company I was involved with, or the industry itself, to feel good about recommending it to my friends.

I found it easier talking to strangers about my business than talking to the people that I knew. So I ignored my Warm Market completely and looked for new people to talk to. The “Three Foot Rule” in business is, If there is a person that’s breathing within three feet of you, they’re a prospect for your business. The first seven months of my new career, like anyone without a prospect list, I lived The Three Foot Rule. I would talk to strangers wherever I would find them. I would meet people at Chamber of Commerce functions, at social events, at the mall, standing in line at the supermarket, at art shows, and at the marina where I kept my sailboat. I would sit in the center seat of an airplane whenever I flew so I would have two people to talk to during the flight. For seven months, I even networked “Happy Hour” at two upscale bars on Palm Beach and signed up a large group of dysfunctional customers. I ran ads in newspapers for five months to get customers. I spent thousands of dollars advertising, with minimal results. At the end of my first year in business I had one hundred and fifty customers. This number would grow to thousands of people in the second and third year of my business, as a direct result of the Internet and the example set by my friend Karla. Karla’s Story Karla, one of the few normal people I met at “Happy Hour” told me that she was going to buy a computer so she could meet people to talk to about our business and products. I was skeptical. I laughed at her and suggested that she get psychiatric help. “It’s easy to meet people,” I told her.

It was easy for me to meet people when I was out and about, but it wasn’t easy for her.

Two weeks after she went online to meet people, Karla called me. She said, “Tomorrow, I’m going to the home of someone I met on the Internet to talk about our business and products.” I was concerned about Karla’s safety. I cautioned her about the potential dangers of meeting strange people online. She agreed to call me fifteen minutes after arriving at her new online friend’s home. If I didn’t hear from her, I promised to call out the National Guard. When my phone rang the day of the meeting, the man on the other end of the line was Karla’s new Internet friend, Doug. He wanted to assure me that Karla had arrived and was perfectly safe. Doug told me that he was very interested in getting involved with our business. Doug turned out to be an amazing and accomplished individual. He had been very successful in the automotive industry and had retired to a large riverfront estate. He had two computer connected to the Internet all the time. Doug told me, “I’ve made many great friends o the Internet. After all, I met you two. Didn’t I?” Doug knew a great deal about our business. Unlike me, he was quite comfortable talking to his friends about it. After filling out his application form, Doug told some of his friends about his newest venture on the telephone. He signed up eighteen new customers. For Doug, going to his Warm Market was easy. I was so impressed that Karla could meet someone like Doug on the Internet that I went out and purchased my own computer. I figured if she could do it, I could do it too. Who wouldn’t want to meet someone like Doug? In the following 21 months my customer base would grow to thousands of people as a result of the relationships I developed and the wonderful friends I made on the Internet. I never did go to my Warm Market.

I made the Internet my Warm Market and used Instant Messaging to create new friendships and to find new customers.

Upon closer examination, you will find that you can do the same thing. Why the Internet can become your Warm Market

  • You can dramatically increase the number of people you know using instant messaging
  • Talking to someone new online is as easy as talking to your best friend
  • You can make a new friend online in seconds and have immediate authority and credibility with them
  • Your new Internet friends will like you and trust you. You are not a stranger. What you say to them has more credibility than when they hear the exact same thing from a stranger.



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