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How do you balance persistent follow-up vs being annoying/rude?

We all know how it is when it comes to making the sale. This is applied to sales, partnerships, fundraising, etc. How do you make it work and find a balance in between?

16 Replies

John OHanlon
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John OHanlon Entrepreneur
Owner of Banks Printers
I use the old fashioned method of posting a 'thank you' card to the person I spoke to. It has a very high strike rate for making a sale on further communication. Simply thank them for affording you their time to put over your product. John O'Hanlon *Banks Printers * John O'Hanlon, 13 Church Road, Banks, Southport PR9 8ET Tel/Fax: 01704 229697 Home: 01704 232620 Mobile: 07717 518167 [removed to protect privacy] www.banksprinters.com
Shel Horowitz: Shel AT GreenAndProfitable com
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I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing
Ask them to add themselves to your electronic newsletter--then supply them with a steady stream of excellent, useful content that points out your expertise and capabilities while addressing their problems, fears, and/or goals. Publish at the frequency you have announced, whether monthly, weekly, or daily. I do monthly, but I think weekly is most ideal. And make sure your content is terrific. If you're actively nurturing a particular client, you might even write a "did you see the article I posted yesterday on [name their problem]" personal note every once in a while (certainly not every issue).

BTW, I recently switched from sending the entire newsletter to sending short teasers and a link. This reduces the problem with spam filters (especially since I write about the "taboo" subject of marketing. I resisted because I didn't feel enough people had broadband, but now I think the vast majority of my readers do. You can view back issues of my newsletter going back many years at http://thecleanandgreenclub.com
Matthew Mellor
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Matthew Mellor Advisor
CEO of Strenuus
After 3 attempts, give them the opportunity to get off the hook. "I know you're super busy. If you're interested in exploring this further, please contact me. I don't want to keep nagging you."

And then move on to the next prospect. It's about managing your time. If they are interested, they'll reach out to you. If they are not, no amount of nagging will change that.
Arthur Lipper
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Arthur Lipper Entrepreneur
Chairman of British Far East Holdings Ltd.
By providing the target with added value in each new contact.
Kai Larson
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Kai Larson Entrepreneur • Advisor
Principal Consultant at SalesOnward
Depends on if it is follow up from a call, or if you are prospecting into a list.

If the person has shown some interest, but is not responding, you can put them on a drip list to stay front of mind. First send them a note letting them know you will no longer follow up personally, but you are going to put them on the drip list. Sometimes this spurs people to respond with a positive as they see you are frustrated, others will respond and ask you not to put them on the list.

If you are prospecting, the key is to have a very targeted list of folks you KNOW should be interested. A campaign to a good list should include 10-13 "touches." These touches are a series of emails and voicemails that are each a little different and offer some little nugget of info. It takes on average 10 times before people respond. If your value is good, and your list targeted, most people will appreciate the persistence.


Paul Gallo
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Paul Gallo Entrepreneur
CEO at First US Advisors Inc., M&A and Capital Raising
I agree with Matthew Mellor - give them a chance to say "no thanks". But to add to that - ask yourself a very real question - do you have a product of service that will really benefit the prospect (you've done your research, right?) and if you provide tangible value to them, keep at it a while longer - and let them know why you have not moved on - because you are convinced they will not regard the 15-minute overview as a waste of their time. "In fact - why not designate someone who reports to you as the audience for my 15-minute request - I'm comfortable that if I can't help them see the value, then I won't bother you again". If nothing else, you've got an "underling" to try to turn into an internal-champion for your cause. I have never felt the need for an initial meeting with the CEO - if I can get in front of someone he/she trusts, then I am one step closer to my face-to-face with the CEO - because we all know you need to get in front of the real decision maker to complete your sale. But be gracious - and let them know "even 10 minutes of your time can make a difference in your bottom line" - just don't chit chat - get on with it when you 10-minute audience is approved. Give that CEO a 5-minute mini presentation - then you've got five minutes to encourage him to agree to another meeting where he/she can be exposed to more meaty-info about how this will benefit his/her bottom line. Still - be emotionally ready for more "nos" than "yeses" - and as Matthew pointed out, manage your time - get past this prospect and onto new ones.
Vinuth Tulasi
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Vinuth Tulasi Entrepreneur
Member of Technical Staff at Stealth Mode Storage Startup
Two or three follow ups will never be annoying. If it is more than that, it is time to think. Is that the product is not impact full or the customer is not willing to.
If you are confident on the product and its impact then you know the answer. Stop any more follow ups.
Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
be straight forward and give them options... "is it OK if i follow up again in the future"? If your communication is via phone this works well. If via email then give them a checkbox or 2 "follow up with me next month __" , "follow up with me next week", "you should follow up with someone else on my team (a link to enter another email linked to their email so you can provide a referral), or "thanks, but i'm not interested" (provide a link to adjust frequency of followup or opt out).
David C. MSE
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David C. MSE Entrepreneur
CEO at Business Development
A combination of Arthur's and Matthew's responses. Show progression each time you contact them. While I like the "never accept no for an answer" M.O, the reality is if you are not getting responses, consider every minute or hour focussed on someone who is not responsive, is time spent away from someone who might be. After that, every six months it can't hurt to keep in touch.

As for the newsletter suggestion, quarterly maybe. Most who are sending out newsletters weekly are probably spending more time writing news letters than anything else and probably has little to offer! In fact I just started getting one I'm about to block because it is so darn annoying!
Tom McDonald
1
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Tom McDonald Advisor
SMB Technology Leader / Cloud Computing Consultant / Small Business IT CEO / Managed IT Service Provider in CT
Matthew Mellor is spot on.
3 Strikes and intoa drip (automated or manual) campaign.
Get onto that next opportunity.
When they have the pain you relieve - you want them to pick up the phone and call.

The key is using the time in our day, in the most effective and useful manner to grow business.


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