It’s The Small Things
One of the consistent knocks against sales people is the fact that they do not always follow through on their commitments. While this can be debated, the perception exists, and as you’ve often heard, perception is reality. What is unfortunate is that when it comes to the “big” things sales people do in fact follow through, because they understand what is at stake. Where at times they tend to be tardy is on the “smaller” things, those “they perceive” to be not so crucial to the success of a deal or a prospect. But it is these small things that often shape the prospect perception, usually because they precede the “big” things; and because they are “small”, it is not any single event or thing, but the cumulative effect. Further, for the prospects stand point it is not only my lack of follow through, but the all the experiences they have had with the sales profession.
So there are two things you can do. One, the easy one, is follow up, big or small, and in between, you say something, you do it, on time, every time.
The second is a bit craftier, at times artful. Draw on your experience to create opportunities to demonstrate your intent to follow through. Again, these don’t have to be “big” things, but specifically look for “small” things that are easy to do but will leave an impression. Because you are looking for “small” things, they are plenty, easy to execute, and can be utilised throughout the sale. Let’s be clear, we are not talking about tricking the buyer, we are talking about understanding what is important to them and delivering against it.
For example, if you commit to delivering a piece of information to a prospect by a certain time, do it; a spec, a piece of information, an extension cord, what have you. If you are trying to prospect someone, you’ve left them a voice mail, no response. Follow up with an e-mail, closing it with something along the line of:
“Dear Ms. Potential Buyer, sorry I missed you earlier today, …….. and I will follow up with you Thursday at 11:00 am…….”
The expectation is not that they will be at their desk at 11:00 am Thursday, if they are bonus, but the ability to call and leave a message at 11:00 am Thursday. Again, not a big deal, but an opportunity to subtly that you follow through. Many will call them, sometime on Thursday morning, but calling them exactly when you said, as they say “priceless”. A few of these type of small drips, give you a chance to make a quiet statement, a chance to be different.
What’s in Your Pipeline?