While it may be true that “good things come to those who wait,” it is more true that in sales, better things happen to those who make things happen. Making things happen involves effort in a number of ways, one being persistence, the ability and – willingness – to take the game to the buyer. Despite proclamations to the contrary, most salespeople do not invest sufficient effort in gaining and keeping a prospect’s attention.
When I speak to sellers about their sales prospecting cadence with respect to engaging with prospects, most fall into the category of “too few and too much time between touch points.” Most tell me that they belong to the “3 & 3” camp. That is three touch points, once a week, over the course of three weeks, then they move on to the next prospect. Some will recycle the lead, and some from the Glengarry Glen Ross school don’t even do that, complaining about the quality of the leads all the way through.
Think about all of the things a buyer has to deal with in the course of one day, not just with other vendors, but with direct reports, kids, wife, mistresses, IRS, and more. They are already packing 16 hours into a 10-hour day, having to keep track of a host of things.
So, how are you going to stand out?
Let’s look at it from two perspectives. First, let’s say you are dealing with a potential buyer or someone who may have downloaded content from your website and so you take the opportunity to pounce. Chances are better than good that they performed a similar activity on your competitor’s site, meaning that you need to stay top of mind before your competition regains that place. If in fact it is the above scenario, it is best to design and implement a plan to touch the prospect frequently and in a meaningful way. You have a sense of what is of interest to them, and you have the benefit of having sold to similar buyers. This allows you to develop a narrative that you can build on during each touch point, allowing you to avoid the “I’m following up on my call” routine. If you can articulate why buyers buy from you and the business impacts you have delivered, you can build a string of voicemails, emails, and other means of communication that tell a story of success.
If you are making cold calls, yes cold, you will need to create a plan that will map out your pursuit plan ahead of time. Now, instead of trying to distinguish yourself from the competition, your narrative needs to communicate something of value to the prospect that will help them to see the benefit of becoming a customer. They need to see you as a means of achieving an objective that they had before you ever called. How will you know what that is? Again, look at your past deals, and build on them.
At this point, I know you are asking, “what’s the alternative to the ‘3 & 3’ method?” Start with “8 in 2,” that is – eight touch points over the course of two business weeks. When you master that, move to “10 in 2.”
“But I don’t want to harass them,” I hear some of you say. Don’t worry about it, think over the last couple of weeks of an instance where you have had a couple of calls from a business acquaintance or a friend, who has left you a couple of messages over the last week. And while you always want to call them back, you always forget until you’re on that commuter train heading home. What chance does a complete stranger have at receiving a call back from you? Especially off a cold call?
Map it out. Call your prospect and leave a voicemail and email in that same day. Call that same prospect two days later, followed by a snail mail, and that’s week one already completed. You can spice things up week two with a LinkedIn InMail or connection request, add a text to the mix, before a final email. Persistence executed with purpose will win every time. Plan it, map it, set up your reminders/tasks, and let if flow. Don’t second guess yourself based on your mood that day. Follow your plan and execute.
Need more in-depth advice?
Still not sure about your sales prospecting cadence? Do you want to implement a higher degree of objective based selling into your strategy? Sign up for my webinar with Paul Alves, CRO and Co-Founder of QuotaFactory, on Thursday, July 21st at 1 PM EST.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community