Recently, one of my guest bloggers, Jeffrey Miranda, posted a great question on LinkedIn about how to approach churches to offer them church technology consulting services. I found the answers posted to his questions made for great food for thought. If you’re a pastor or church staff member reading this article, please leave your comments beneath the article! Thanks, Lauren

My company provides church technology services that I am more and more solely offering to churches. I want to know how churches and their staff like to learn of companies like my own. I can really help many churches, and I am curious of the best ways of talking with them. I know many of you in this group are staff members or clergy. What are some effective ways that you like learning about new services that will help your church? What are good ways to approach a church and tell them more about I can help? 

For companies that provide technology consulting to churches (or any other services), like architects, etc., what are some good ways you have found to respectfully inform a church about your company? The last thing I want to come across is a salesman. I know any advice would greatly benefit me, and it might help others also.

After posing this question on LinkedIn and in talking with others recently, I compiled some of the great replies to share with you in the form of six helpful tips on selling to churches:

1) Churches want relationships. This seems to be a re-occurring theme, and one which I knew had a high level of importance. I think the more important question is how to build these relationships with churches in an effective manner. I would love to hear what others might recommend in relationship building. While I can put into practice what we do for all of our other customers, if we want to market to a particular audience, we do what will make them most interested, right? Same thing goes with building relationships.

2) Don’t aim for the senior pastor. Pastors are busy, and perhaps it’s easier to contact a music minister, or the person in charge of media, or in my case, the sound engineer. Targeting the relationship-building with someone who deals directly with the product or service you offer is key. If you only look at communicating with the senior pastor, chances are you might never have the option to start building a relationship.

3) Good service is key. My company strives to be more than just a company that sells audio gear to churches. We want to continue to provide important, even crucial services that will help churches maximize what they already have. In some cases, budgets aren’t there for major capital campaigns, and they must work within those means. This means for consultants like me, I must offer new things that will really benefit church tech teams, while keeping it economical. Good bang for the buck is important. Good response time, attention to detail, and overall customer service are critical.

4) Be transparent. If you have something to sell, it’s best to just explain what you are offering by being direct. If the church you are working with is interested, make sure to ask if they want to move forward to the next step. If not, be gracious, say thank you, and politely ask if there is a time in the future you might follow up to see if the church’s situation has changed.

 5) Respect the church’s time. Unless you’re bringing fresh baked cookies or free lunch (and have a prearranged appointment to do so), dropping in to say hi and drop off literature is not a good idea. It’s best to send an email, and then perhaps follow up with a second email or phone call; they will reply if they are interested.

6) Direct mailings are a waste of resources. Direct mailings can sometimes be effective, but most churches throw this information away. Sending an email with more information, a link to a YouTube video or the like would most likely be more effective. In addition, its best to send communication directly to the ones who actually use whatever it is that you are offering.

Jeffrey Miranda is President of NeoLogic Sound, a commercial audio integration firm based in Los Angeles.  He has over a decade of experience involved in audio, lighting, and video for worship.