Treading the path between persistent and pushy is like walking a tightrope fraught with peril. Try too hard and you risk alienating the very person you’re trying to connect with, too little and they believe you’re not interested or worse – forget who you are. Get it just right and you could be creating a working relationship for life.
You’ve already taken the first step by establishing the connection. Now all that’s left is to follow-up and make the sale. Here’s how:
Lay the foundations
Once you’ve formed the connection, it’s essential to build a lasting relationship and ultimately earn the right to the sale. People do business with those they like, so make sure you value-add by giving away a free titbit of useful information every time you speak with them.
Do your research
Reading business magazines and news articles that cater to your prospects’ various niches are a good way to pick up items of interest. Either email them with a personalised note, or drop them into casual conversation. Try using the same item for a number of different leads. Connecting weekly is a good guide for hot prospects and monthly for longer term opportunities.
Gauge your relationship’s strength
The level of connection you have with a contact denotes how often you can comfortably communicate. The more personal your connection (do you talk about family, hobbies etc?), the more often you can touch base. Trust your instincts. If they’re receptive keep going, if they’re hostile – back off.
Don’t assume they’re not interested
People are bombarded with all kinds of communications, so if they don’t return your emails, calls, letters, etc, don’t write them off. The most consistent complaint companies have is that salespeople fail to follow-up. Remember emails get lost in spam, voice mails missed or forgotten and letters lost or delayed. Eighty per cent of sales are made after the fourth contact, so keep trying to connect until they actually tell you not to. Just don’t leave any more than four unreturned voicemails. At best it makes you look desperate and at worst a stalker.
Exploit social media
Make sure you “like” or “follow” your lead’s company on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. Not only will their activities give you insights on new developments – which you can later use to tailor your communications – but you can also reply, tweet, like their content to keep your name fresh in your prospect’s mind.
Google alerts on your new contact
Is another method of keeping informed of what’s going on with your contact’s business and ensuring any communication you make is tailored to meet their needs.
Create an e-Newsletter
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a regular newsletter – as long as it’s packed with valuable content. Even in a world saturated with amateur bloggers, newsletters are still a great way to keep your name fresh in a long time prospect’s mind, build rapport and ultimately help you convert.
Tips on how to follow up with a new contact correctly:
- Build a relationship to earn the sale
- Don’t assume they’re not interested until they say so
- Use social media and newsletters to help build rapport
- Let the strength of your connection decide how often you touch base