Square Sales Pegs, Round Customer Holes
You’ve heard me say in the past that Diligence is the great equalizer in Sales. That it is an ace card that can turn an average sales rep into a superstar. Ask someone who is successful to tell you their secret and they are likely to say they just kept calling and never gave up.
And yet, there is a time when you have to wonder if you are trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.
Prospecting phone calls go to voice mail and go unreturned. Emails get sucked into a Black Hole. And still, we persevere.
Diligence is noble and warranted and necessary as a sales rep. Without it, you are one-and-done and you’d have better luck playing the lottery. But common sense plays a part here, too, so you need to make an assumption and hear a message.
First, the assumption. Most of us go negative when the prospecting process yields nothing. We tell ourselves that the client doesn’t need us, doesn’t want to hear from us, and that we are probably annoying them. Instead, why not make the assumption that they DO need you but just not now. That way, your underlying tone is one of patience and not surrender.
The counterpoint to that is the message that can’t be ignored. Let’s say you’ve made some initial contact with a prospect and even had a conversation or two but then they go dark. Diligence yields nothing and as much as you’d like to stay positive, it is important to hear the message that the customer is telling you by not returning your calls: They lack common courtesies, this is the kind of experience you will have with them in the future, and they are probably not your customer.
Go ahead. Chase them down. Be Diligent. Persevere. But also channel your inner Kenny Rogers: Know when to walk away and when to run.
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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.