Persistence vs. Annoyance
When I was in sixth grade, I learned that my legal name - William - means “determined” in Gaelic. I thought that was pretty cool. Today, as a sales trainer, I emphasize the importance of diligence and pleasant persistence. A question that I hear quite often is, when does that determination become too much? That is, at what point does a sales rep’s follow-up effort work against him or her?
Like a good consultant, let me give you both sides of the argument …
First, the case for dogged pursuit:
- They’re not working with you now. If you make one too many calls and really irritate someone, the worst case scenario is that they won’t work with you. But that’s what you already have going for you, so what does it matter?
- Every successful sales rep I have ever interviewed tells me the number one secret to his or her success is diligence.
- That next call could be the one that turned into a sale.
Second, the case for backing off:
- No one likes a pushy salesman.
- It’s okay to make the assumption that they’re not ignoring you, it’s just that they moved on to something else. They’ll get back to you when they need you.
- You, yourself don’t like it when someone tries too hard, why would someone else?
In the end, the answer is both personal and regional. Here in Boston, we are what I would call “Northeast aggressive.” What works here would definitely not work in say, Dallas. You will likely have to come up with your own answer and that’s fine.
Personally, I would rather make one more phone call or send one more email than one too few. In all the years I’ve been selling, only once has someone gotten back to me with an angry, “stop calling me,” response. It was a printer from North Carolina who sent wrote me a full-page, handwritten note.
I called to thank him.
How hard should you push? That’s up to you. Me? I’ll keep making those calls and sending those emails until I hear back…or until a restraining order arrives.
To talk about what I can do for your sales team in the form of a live presentation, workshop, or individual training, either call or hit this link and jump on my calendar.
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Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.