How NOT to Be a Pest

The second response to my recent writer’s block blog produced this question:

“How do you do your job and balance being PERSISTANT without being a PEST?”

That is such a great question! Thanks to Sally Kirby for posing it. Another toughie. Here are a few of my thoughts, in no particular order.

Ask for permission.—When you have had the opportunity to speak to a prospect, but for whatever reason have not been able to meet face to face, ask, “When should I contact you again?” Then, make absolutely certain that you follow up the way in which the buyer asked you to (call, e-mail, etc.) ON THAT DAY. Treat it like any other appointment.

Give them an easy out.—Tell your prospect in an e-mail or voice mail that, if they would prefer not to hear from you any longer, all they have to do is let you know. You will likely find that, while it takes a long time and much effort to connect with someone in a meaningful way, few people want us to go away entirely.

I always tell my clients that we are like comforting white noise to buyers. They might not need us or want us at this particular moment, but they like knowing that we are there.

Remind them that you are doing your job.—If anyone ever criticizes you for your persistence (or pestering), you can gently remind them that it is your job to seek out organizations that are in need of your expertise. You can use anecdotal selling here.

Tell a story: “I once had a customer who was facing a problem similar to yours, and here is what I did for them…You can’t blame me for doing everything in my power to help you solve your problems, too, can you?”

Or you can even try, “I have a tough job—selling. But I know that all my current customers are glad that I pursued them to the lengths that I did, because now we have a very productive relationship. I’d be glad to have you talk to one or more of them if you like.”

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • mylabelink

    well said Kelly…:)

  • Ken

    I once sent a coconut and a small hammer to a guy with the words " you’re a tough nut to crack" and got the guy.

  • Danielle

    I have used your "give up" tactic and it has worked pretty well. After trying to reach a prospect numerous times via several different ways (phone, email, drop in) I send them an email saying I realize they are probably busy so I’ll stop bothering them for now. Several prospects have emailed me back apologizing !