Richard Saling on Linked in asked this great question. “When does persistence cross the line to diminishing returns. We all hear about the importance of persistence. That old saying “Persistence pays off”, but how much is too much where you become an annoyance?” I also answered this same question in a coaching meeting today. Here are some tips to help your persistent sales follow-up have purpose and power.
You are an annoyance when the other individual is not interested in hearing from you at that time. The best way I have found to minimize allowing my persistence become an annoyance is to remain interesting to the other person (lets speak of a prospective customer for now).
This is accomplished by:
- Being very clear about how they want to buy.
- Quit fitting them into your time table and work yourself into theirs.
- Include them in on how they want to be worked with by asking.
- Be willing to hear an early no – ask questions (not closing ??) but questions that allow them to tell you if they are interested in continuing the process or not.
- Be clear about dates, times and purposes of any follow up call.
- Always bring value or new information when you make a contact, it will keep you on their interesting list.
If you are doing these well and the prospect is honest about his interest, I assume delays are a shift in their priorities. I might leave a VM or email like this:
“Joe – you must be swamped or some new priorities have piled on you since we last spoke. How would you like me to follow up with you? Do you still want to proceed with the process we are engaged in? I can be patient if needed, just let me know how to serve.”
I then let the sales process go we were engaged in and convert them to a prospective opportunity that I need to market to for a future sales process.
I think many sales people try to keep a dead sales process alive too long and instead need to shift back to marketing (creating interest). If you don’t it will impact your sales motivation in a negative manner.
Lastly – Don’t call up and say, I was just checking in (there is no purpose or power in this line).
Check out my article on No One Sale Matters to put yourself in the right frame of mind to ask these questions.