In sales, there is an art to being persistent as there are effective and non-effective ways to get in with the prospect you want. Here are a few tips that we’ve picked up along the way!
Sending only one email or calling only once is not enough, especially if you have yet to get ahold of the person. If it is worth it to you, try again and more than twice! That said, business professionals get very busy and they may have not simply seen your calls or emails, or the timing of them may have been off. In any case, a helpful hint would be to follow up at least two times more than you think you should.
Also, if you are not able to reach them on the phone or through email, message them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. If you are reaching out to multiple people within the same company through these methods, you should communicate this as it may backfire.
Assume the worst
When you go to follow up, assume that the person has not heard your pitch and that you need to start from the beginning. If you sent an email or left a message, include messaging from the previous email sent or words that you said in the last message left.
You are not owed anything
Be polite, gracious and respectful with every call and email. It can be frustrating and possibly tempting to want to take out anger on a prospective client because they have not answered any of your phone calls or emails, but it is not there obligation to respond to you.
Make sure to say “thank you” whenever you get an email response, have a phone conversation or read over your information. This will create a positive impression of you and the company and they may want to do business with you in the future.
Getting some answer is better than no answer. If someone tries to say “I'll get back to you," set a time when you'll get back to him or her instead. Sometimes when a person says “no,” it can actually mean maybe. Decision-making is an emotional process, not an intellectual one and most people will do more to avoid pain than achieve pleasure, so the first impulse most people have when asked to make a decision is to find reasons not to make that decision.
Assuming you're asking the right person (that is, someone who ought to say yes), a no usually means one of the following:
- Wrong information. You didn't explain well enough why yes it is a good decision for the other person. Therefore, you must now do a better job of explaining.
- Wrong timing. The other person needs some time to ponder and thus is saying no to stall. Therefore, you must now be patient and ask for the yes later.
- Wrong circumstance. There's a situation or circumstance the person has no control over that's blocking him or her from saying yes. Therefore, you must now work with the this person to transcend the block. You may need to get an executive sponsorship and/or have this person help “champion” you in.
Reading between the lines and really trying to understand your customer is key in sales. It will tell you the story that the customer isn’t telling you.
Most sales people will hear the words “I'm really busy right now.” While they may or not be busy, what they are really saying is that "I have not decided whether or not I want to buy your product" or "I don't have money right now" or "I really need to get a purchase done, but I am overwhelmed by other things happening in my world currently.” The other spectrum is that the customer will not say anything at all. In this instance, they probably decided to purchase from a competitor.
To overcome these issues, a good salesperson needs to be able to pick up on the underlying context and ask questions to further explore for the true answer.