Your prospects are getting hundreds of marketing messages a day, from multiple mediums. They, as are you, are trying to pack a 12 hour day into an 8 hour day. So how do you continue your prospecting efforts in a tactful, yet persistent manner, without being pushy?
The phrase “tactful persistence” should come to mind as you are thinking about the next contact with your prospect. Ask for permission on that last phone call, “What month should I follow up?” which makes you an accountable salesperson, rather than a pesky salesperson. Asking for a callback date from the prospect on each call you make, means that you don’t have to spend time calling prospects that are not ready to make a decision. You may have planned on calling a given prospect back in 2 weeks, but they’ll tell you they won’t be ready with a decision for 2 months. If you keep enough prospects in the sales funnel, you won’t mind when they push you off. Just be prepared for diligent follow up so that when that day comes for follow up, you are there, armed with notes from the last conversation to re-ignite the call!
The question often comes up, “How often should I leave messages?” How would you feel if you got one message every other day from the same salesperson? If you are going to leave a message, leave one sparingly. And when you do leave a message, vary the substance of your messages. Perhaps you have some interesting information you just uncovered to make your prospect’s job easier. Maybe you just got permission to add a new service to the package that you can discuss with them. Make it compelling, so they are drawn to call you back. At the same time, don’t expect a callback, it rarely happens! Remember, we’re all trying to fit 12 hours into an 8 hour day, and your services may not be within the top 5 priorities for that week. Try calling without leaving a message, in an effort to reach the prospect live.
Now that you’ve positioned yourself as a resource, utilize direct mail all year with your telephone marketing efforts as a ‘touch point.’ Send them articles that might interest them. A Thanksgiving card to bring in the Holiday season. A newsletter that contains a value based article. Make an ally of their assistant. Gather information from each person you speak to so that for each time you reach the prospect (or leave a message) you’ll be armed with some new information that positions you as a resource rather than a pest.
Reaching decision makers and keeping them engaged is a multi-channel marketing effort. It’s with the combination of, “soft touches”, such as phone, email, fax and direct mail- on a consistent but not overwhelming basis- that builds brand awareness. While the prospect wasn’t ready to do business when you first called him, when he is ready for your service, it is your company will be thought of. And finally, bringing together participation in trade shows, website marketing, public speaking, publishing articles in alternative venues, and other opportunities will make for a well rounded multi-channel marketing approach that will keep you “top of mind.” It all starts with tactful persistence!