Many sales people and their managers feel that a good sales person is one who is moving forward. This is fine, so long as you don’t move so fast that you miss or pass opportunities along the way.
Remembering that your buyers are moving at just a fast a pace, and are dealing with many of the same realities you are, namely greater demands on their time and resources, less people and resources to get things done; leaving them, like you, having to fit 16 hours of work into a 10-hour workday. Behind the eight ball, before the day even starts. And it’s in that environment, that we as sellers are trying place and raise our offering on an already jammed agenda or ‘to do’ list.
To succeed in getting and climbing that list, you will need to employ at least two things, first, creativeness, to stand apart from other (lots of other) sales people; the second is persistence. These two are not the only things you’ll need to succeed, but they are two core components that go hand-in-hand. While many sellers can score well on the creative part, many also fall short on the persistence side.
Persistent is different from stalking, and that is the fear for many, they don’t want to seem as though they are stalking someone, fearing an injunction order will be issued against them. While I don’t want to see an injunction either, I do believe that many can go further than they are now without risk, but greater success.
For example, it has been shown that most sellers will abandon a lead after three attempts; while most buyers will require 4 to 7 touch points before the engage, some will say even more. A clear recipe for failure, just as the buyer is getting warmed up, you disappear. Then your competitor comes along, connects with the client on their second call, 5th touch point from the client’s perspective (3 from you + 2 from the competitor); you just set them up, don’t do that! Unless you are persistent and make it a habit to plan at least six touch points with each lead before you put them back for more nurturing and future contact, you are working for the competition.
The touch points can be any combination of things, e-mail, phone, voice mail, snail mail, text, or get creative, send a video on a jump stick, greeting card on a delivered pizza, keep it clean, and the sky is the limit. Just touch them with something more meaningful than a Facebook ‘Like’, “no Virginia, a tweet is not a touch-point.” Oh yes, those six touch points are in the course of two weeks, 10 business days, not over six months.
I know for some that much contact in such a short time may seem a bit much, but remember, engaging with a buyer, a specially a Status Quo buyer, involves more focus and effort.
One reason I am given for not being persistent, goes something like this: “I don’t want to bug them, I wouldn’t like if that approach was used on me.” Which is fine, except the buyer is not you, and since selling is about the buyer, let’s start looking at things from their perspective. To start with, talk to people in your company who do what your target does, and talk to them about what would make a seller stand out for them, you’ll be surprised how different roles see things differently. Ask how many times and the type of touch points they respond to, and then adapt.
One more thing, people say they wouldn’t like the level of persistence I describe, but when asked about certain discretionary or course of business purchases, they discover that they do end up buying from the persistent seller, assuming all other things were more or less equal.
- Schedule one more call for everyone you called this week
- Lay out your six touch points and time line
- Commit to it in your calendar
What’s in Your Pipeline?