Don’t Disappear

alt text for a businessman with an invisible headYour 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.

Questions

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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Comments

comments

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  • http://lookingtobusiness.com Daniel M. Wood

    This all comes down to great prospecting.
    If you have found a customer that is perfect for you company and that is in need of your products.
    You cannot afford to let them go to waste.

    Just like you say Anthony, make sure they listen and if they don’t talk to the next in command and so on.

    By providing white papers and case studies you can really prove the value you are willing to bring.
    I also like proving are success with a list of at least 30 testimonials, preferably from competitors or others in their industry.

    People are pack animals and if you can prove that everyone else is following you, your dream client will be inclined to do so as well.

  • http://ypsgroup.com/blog Todd Youngblood

    Anthony,

    Great stuff! “Always add value” is too powerful a tip to not reinforce. It applies not only prospecting but to EVERY interaction. Provide value every time you interact with a prospect, customer, colleague, competitor, old friend, new contact… Sure it’s a cliche, but what goes around really does come around.

    Todd

  • http://intrepid-llc.com Todd Schnick

    I love hearing about people who set auto-reminders to follow-up with a prospect every 90 days.

    I love it, because I know I am going to beat them.

    Serve them, help them, answer questions, provide answers, provide value any way you can…and ultimately your prospect will begin to know what working with you is already like. The sale becomes easy at that point…

    • http://www.santhonyiannarino.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Amen!

      Auto-reminders for every 90 days? To what end?

  • http://heavyhittersales.typepad.com/heavy_hitter_sales_sales_/2010/07/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-salespeople.html Chad Rose

    I agree with your advice, but I think sending white papers is simply what other salespeople do (perhaps not as frequently). I’m not a fan of white papers-I think people view them as self-serving and don’t have the time to dive in, anyway.
    To get through you have to be relentless, but you also have to be original. What original ways can you employ to show value and get through to the prospect? That’s what really separates the superstars.

    • http://www.santhonyiannarino.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Chad! I threw out some ideas, white papers were one idea, surely not the only idea (also depends very much on the content and quality of the ideas). I agree that there are limitless possibilities . . . but ultimately, even white papers are a better idea than doing nothing for the 13 weeks between quarters, no?



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