• February 19, 2015

How to Stay In Touch With Your Prospects

Let’s face it, most sales cycles stretch out longer than we’d like. This requires us sales people to be patient, but more importantly, somehow stay in the mind of potential buyers while they are doing whatever they do between our sales calls.

In my personal experience a few years back, I sold a lot of middleware software to a large Midwestern telecommunications firm. They needed the software to build a new IT system, which would help provision customers quicker so they could sell them bundled phone services. Their project was dependent on another project, which (surprise!) ran late.

The buyers liked my solution, but keeping them interested throughout the three month delay, was going to be a challenge.  I needed to keep my solution at the top of their mind, so interest wouldn’t fade by the time their project started up again. During those three months, I was able to maintain a presence with those buyers and learned some valuable tactics.

If you’re wondering how to stay in touch with potential clients during similar delays without seeming like a stalker, here is what I recommend:

1. Share Relevant Blogs

One of my favorite techniques is to send my customers and prospects a recent blog entry: This can either be from your company or from a good site, with a quick note about how it made you think of their business, or the deal you’re working on. Be sure to make it relevant! Even if they don’t reply or acknowledge your outreach, you’re still building your presence. They are seeing your name front and center.

2. Share Your Company Wins

Ditto for recent wins (hopefully only those that are relevant to their industry, or geography): If your client is in Denver, I’m sure they appreciate hearing that you’re building up the client base nearby.

3. Share Company News

Share relevant company news: For instance, if your company announces a new product or feature or service, that’s at least somewhat relevant, let them know! No pressure, you’re just keeping them updated.

Should You Email and Call?

Use email to build awareness, but don’t count on responses. Use your phone to engage them in conversations. And use Spiro to help you do both. People love to talk (especially about themselves). Be Interesting! Your job is to make them want to talk with you, so don’t send them dull stuff. It would be better to share a great photo or video you made with your drone, than a dull product release. Remember, you’re selling to a person.

What Not To Do

1. Sending a Facebook or LinkedIn happy birthday message. Everyone knows how easy that is to do, and no one values it. The only strategy you might want to use here is actually calling them on their birthday to personally wish them a happy birthday. I received about 400 messages on LinkedIn on my birthday (because it’s so easy to do), but the one I really remember was my colleague, from three companies ago, who picked up the phone and called. (Thanks, Teddi!)

2. Sound like a robot: The last thing your clients want to hear is a robotic reading of some script that everyone under the sun gets exposed to. People like to feel special, as if you know them and value them. When you make calls while reading from a preplanned text, your sales potential flies out the window (you’ll be lucky if they don’t hang up on you before the second paragraph).

3. Use ‘sales language’: Yes, we all went through training to “up” our sales and climb the corporate ladder. In the midst of that training, we were submerged in sales lingo. However, the rest of corporate America doesn’t want to hear our jargon. They want to know why our products are the best in the industry and how they are going to suit their company needs. Don’t sound like a salesperson.

Keep Your Clients Close

The best way to make a sale, is to ensure that your name (and that of your company) is at the forefront of future clients’ minds. Send them blogs and news in order to keep your name in their view. Make sure, of course, that the things you send are relevant and useful. Make phone calls and be interesting!

No matter how desperate you are for a sale, or how many people you have to call each day, never resort to being robotic and impersonal. Make that birthday phone call, talk to each individual in a manner fitting his/her field and style, and definitely don’t try to talk shop with people not working in yours.

Learn More

Interested in hearing how the best sales people achieve success? Check out our profiles on Mike Ice of Cloud Sherpas, Scott Sullivan of Neighborhood Power Corporation and Sara Sophia of LogMeIn.