Your prospective client indicated that they plan to engage your services as soon as the "timing is right.” But that was months ago. Maybe the “right time” will never come. Maybe they were just being nice and never intended to work with you at all. Or maybe one of your competitors poached the opportunity.
You can fret all you like, but ultimately the only appropriate course of action is to extend the benefit of the doubt and proceed with respectful persistence. So here are three “don’ts” and three “do's” to ensure effective momentum:
1. Don’t repeatedly ask your prospect if they’ve made their decision to hire you. It’s about as irritating as the incessant “are we there yet?” that cranky children niggle from the back seat on a road trip. Your follow-up messages should add value.
Do send relevant articles, introductions, invitations, and resources that will be of interest to your prospects. See to it that they continue to look forward to your calls and emails until they’re ready to move forward.
2. Don’t rely on automated follow-ups unless you’re in a high-volume business. Inbound marketing is great, but when you are already in a dialogue about a specific engagement, you can’t switch to form letters and expect the discerning buyer to be fooled.
Do personalize your communications, and use applications like SaneBox or Boomerang to remind you when it’s time to follow up again.
3. Don’t give up. Research suggests that it takes between 7-14 touches before your prospects will feel comfortable enough to buy from you, yet most sales people quit after the first unsuccessful attempt. Until your prospect tells you they simply aren’t interested (or becomes unresponsive for an extended period of time), the game is still on.
Do use the sales process as an opportunity to develop a relationship with your prospect. They may not hire you this time, but they will remember your friendly, attentive demeanor if your paths cross again.
For more Do’s and Don’ts on this topic, read my latest contribution to the Business Journal, authored by Mark Goulston: https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/marketing/2017/08/how-to-win-more-business-with-12-do-s.html