Everyone is familiar with the Aesop tale of the tortoise and the hare. The hare teases the tortoise, bragging about his speed, and how confident he is in ultimately winning a race against the tortoise. The challenge between the two ensues, and the hare darts into the horizon. After sensing he has a great head start, the hare lies down and takes a quick nap. All the while, the tortoise chugs on, slowly but surely making progress. The hare wakes from his slumber by cheers from the crowd, and finds his opponent is nearing the finish. And much to the hare’s dismay, as fast as he tries to catch up, his efforts are for not; he loses to the Tortoise. The hare learns a valuable lesson, and one I want to highlight: perseverance pays off in spades.
It’s often said in the competitive sales world: you’re only as good as your last sale. When you’re constantly moving toward your next bigger, memorable sale, you can get caught up with newer, more exciting leads, instead of nurturing existing ones. Coming from multiple experiences, even as of late, I know the tortoise and the hare story to be true. Checking in with clients and potential clients on a regular basis should already be common practice; but what’s more, is keeping up with those who ignore you. Yep, I said it, ignore you. And here’s why.
Just like your job is to convert leads into signed contracts, that contact person has a role and job they must complete too. And those jobs get just as demanding as your desire for the next sale. Responding to your contact attempts could be their lowest priority. I have found a tried and true way to keep leads which may appear to have fizzled out, ALIVE.
- Follow up weekly. Most likely, the reason for their silence is not because they are disinterested, but because something is blocking their progression. Send a quick email checking in, or leave a voicemail just saying hello. These types of actions can be a catalyst for them to get the ball rolling.
- Check in on a lost project: It happens all the time, you get notice from your lead they have chosen another vendor, and will not be using your services. Bummer. However, this could be an opportunity to earn their business, if their vendor fails to provide satisfactory results. Following up on the status of the lost project could catapult you into a chance to earn their business.
- Continuous marketing: After all these follow ups, there is the definite possibility a lead really does die, and they tell you to quit contacting them. And feeling like a rejected prom date, we close their file. However, it is important to remind this lost lead, that your company is a relevant organization in your industry. Keep them in the know of all your newest efforts and improvements. My preferred method of this type of contact is newsletters. It gives you a chance to highlight new education your company can provide, new clients, and success stories. Always give them the option to opt out of the newsletter, but more often than not, they won’t, and every month will see your logo and be reminded of your company.
These methods definitely don’t re-invent the sales wheel, but they are tried and true within our organization, and hopefully through yours from here on out!
Live long and may your sales prosper.