JB, a new contact established after he attended one of my workshops, texted me. He had an opportunity for me to deliver a similar program to his audience. Being a full generation older than JB, I immediately called him back to demonstrate my professionalism, authority, and response speed. I left a voicemail. After waiting an hour, JB texted that he was tied up and I should call him back in 45 minutes. When I called back in 43 minutes, I left another voicemail. Then, I waited some more.
Just because a prospect contacts me first, it does not mean that I do not have to sell. Sales success is a process! A hot prospect is not a client. I still must stick to the fundamentals. And without regurgitating the seven-, ten-, or twelve- steps of selling, this experience demonstrates epic failure in communicating with my prospect in the way that he wanted to receive communication. I had to revisit sales communication fundamentals… quickly.
Communicate in the way the prospect receives information
If the prospect wants information by tweeting, first class postage, or a third world spy, deliver the information that way. No matter how important, talented, or polished a seller believes he or she is, success only occurs once the prospect buys. Communicate how the prospect wants, or don’t communicate at all! A prospect always has options. Even if the seller is the only widget maker in town, the option of not buying widgets right now is an option. Don’t let your hot prospect use that option!
Respond timely according to the prospect’s timeframe
Everyone in your marketplace may be aware of your superior product quality and impeccable service reputation. But, do you really know that you have the deal in the bag? Of course not, remember we are not communicating yet!! Call, email, text, tweet. Those actions represents four attempts at a device that is quite possibly on the prospect’s person. Be responsive to the prospect’s response on availability. Otherwise, demonstrate tenacity by messaging exactly when you will try again. Then, keep that appointment!
Communicate with respect
As a seller, if you are too big, too busy, too important for selling to any specific prospect, part ways respectfully. Over time, buyers and sellers grow and shrink. Or, a seller may have a bad quarter and desperately need an order. Regardless, fully expect the time to come when the seller will really want to sell to this prospect who called to give business. A quick “not now” is much better than a drawn-out, disrespectful no. Don’t give the prospect the opportunity to return your rudeness.
Relationships drive business, so value people. Fundamentally, people buy from people. Brands are typically just a reflection of the individuals inside an organization. But, a personal touch is a true differentiator. This rule requires communicating with respect and trust. And the best way to accomplish that goal is to communicate through the listener’s preferred medium in order to maximize acceptance of the sales message. Again, value people!
As for JB, after multiple emails and voicemails, he picked up a call the next morning. He acknowledged receiving the messages and appreciated my tenacity. We quickly negotiated the details and he met my price. I performed the engagement a few days later and knocked it out of the park! I am now in the process of connecting JB with someone from my network who can satisfy another professional need for him.
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond