Your dream client is counting on you to disappear. You have called. You have sent emails. You have asked for appointments. And you have continuously been told the answer is no. Your dream client suspects that you are very much like most of the salespeople she has encountered, and they have mostly all disappeared over time. They have found that getting the appointment was just too difficult. They have moved on to lesser prospects—prospects that, while not being worthy of being called a dream client, will at least agree to see them.
You called 90 days ago. You followed up with one email. Maybe two emails. When you called your dream client today, she told you she didn’t have time to meet with you, she was completely satisfied, and that if you wanted to, you were free to check back with her in a couple months. You believe that decorum requires you to wait for the two months to call. If you feel really aggressive, you might make it six weeks instead of the full two months.
You disappear for long periods of time. This reinforces everything your dream client already suspects: you aren’t that serious, you can’t differentiate yourself, and if she keeps it up, you will go away like most of the others.
Be Consistent, but also Be Relentless
Consistency isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to call your dream client every 90 days. While that might be consistent, it makes no impact. The infrequency doesn’t demonstrate your strong desire to work with your dream client.
Instead, you have to call on your dream client relentlessly. In order to be able to pursue your dream client relentlessly, you have to be able to make every interaction meaningful for your dream client—even when they are unwilling to give you an appointment. If you have enough meaningful, value-creating interactions planned, you can continue to pursue your dream client relentlessly.
Write a 13-week nurture plan. Start your plan with a bi-weekly phone call for an appointment. That covers six interactions. Throw in three white papers that prove to your dream client that you have the thought leadership to deserve a place at the table. Add one case study and you have ten weeks covered. I could write the other three weeks for you in another single sentence, but you will do better to write your own nurture toolkit. How could you create value for your dream client before they ever decide to buy from you?
By the way, don’t ask your dream client if you can call back in a couple months. That is relenting—not relentless.
Vary Your Approach and the Approached
Build on your nurture toolkit from above. Learn to vary your approach. Don’t always use cold calling to try to open the relationship. Don’t always email. Don’t always mail. Don’t always anything. I have personally won clients who agreed to meet with me because I approached them on LinkedIn (so much for those of you who believed my Sales 1.0 rant meant I wasn’t Sales 2.0, au contraire).
Also, if you are always calling and approaching the same contact within your dream client you are cheating your efforts. Just get in. If you can’t get the decision-maker you want, get the decision-influencer. Can’t get the decision-influencer, dive two or three levels deeper and see what you can come up with.
Iron Law: It is always easier to navigate an organization with a guide. Get one! It doesn’t matter if they have authority or not, as long as you know how to move through the organization once you get in. (More Iron Laws)
Always Add Value
Don’t make any interaction about you. The reason your competitors disappear is because they have no way to create value outside of simply selling their solution. You have to be valuable.
What do you know that your dream client needs to know? What resources could you share with them that would help them perform better in their own job? Who could you introduce them to that might buy from them, or who they might in some way benefit from knowing? Even if you are three levels deep, if you are a value-creator, you have to deliver something.
A quick anecdote: I have had a salesperson calling on me for the past couple months. He called (great voicemail message, too) and followed up with an email. He called again and followed up with another email. Then . . . poof . . . he disappeared. Two weeks in a row, then gone from the face of the earth. Had he called again, I would have very easily agreed to the appointment. But, alas . . .
Conclusion: Never Disappear
Once you begun to pursue your dream client, you cannot afford to disappear. Even when you get another big dream client engaged, you must continue your unrelenting, value-creating pursuit. You cannot disappear for months on end without having to rebuild the credibility and trust you gained with your sincere interest before you disappeared.
What does it tell your dream client about you when you call infrequently?
What does it tell your dream client about you when you disappear for long periods at a time? What does it say about your interest in them? What does it say about your future behavior? What should they expect?
How can you ensure that you make every interaction with your dream client valuable and meaningful for them? What can you use or develop to build a nurture toolkit that will ensure that you create value on each interaction?
How can you vary your approach over time? How can you vary your approach, including additional contacts and groups within your dream client? What can you do to create the reputation as someone worth knowing?
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