The Eagle Blog

Persistence or Stalking?

Sales quote from Patricia FrippWhen you are in sales there is a tough line to walk between being a stalker and being persistent.

There are lots of statistics suggesting that salespeople give up too early, BUT if there is no “client need” then pushing too hard is not going to help.

Recently I spotted an article about some reporting tool that caught my interest at that particular moment.  It was a point in time thing, but (silly me) I clicked through to the website.  There are so many tools on the internet that tell suppliers about who has been on their website … so I’m guessing that within microseconds the supplier knew exactly who had just clicked onto their site.

A small sidebar.  I find these tools fascinating, but creepy and I’m pretty sure I am not alone.  Use them carefully, and be empathetic to your “target” … and I use that word carefully!

I guess the fact that I clicked right back off within 5 seconds of reading their landing page was not considered relevant data in their sales and marketing world.

The calls started about an hour later.  “We noticed you were on our site … we’d love to help, give me a call I’m SalesGuy at (xxx) xxx-xxxx”.

Nothing wrong with that, he was responsive and just trying to convert a website visitor.

I ignored the call.

The second call came before the end of the day, and continued twice a day for some time.  All ignored.

I’m an old sales guy, and I have some empathy for a sales guy wanting to make something happen.  I’m also a busy guy running a company who cannot afford to take time out to talk with every sales guy who calls me.

This crossed the line of persistence and became stalking.

“To satisfy our customers’ needs, we’ll give them what they want, not what we want to give them.”  Steve James

So, here is some advice if you really want to get some traction with someone like me, using the tools available to you.

  1. A brief flicker of interest is always worth following up … but read the signs!
  2. A brief flicker of interest CAN be fanned into something more tangible, by feeding it with some valuable information.
  3. If I showed a flicker of interest I might be open to temptation, if it does not take much time.
  4. If you send me a link to your website … it is highly unlikely I will click through.
  5. If you send me attachments it is highly unlikely I will read them.
  6. If you want my attention you will need to be brief, relevant and have some kind of impact.
  7. It is possible to get that interest over time, IF you do not overwhelm me. I have one salesperson who has consistently called me three or four times a year for probably 8 years.  I have never found that to be stalking, but I do admire the persistence … I just have never had need of his services, yet.
  8. A steady flow of interesting content might work over time.
  9. Persistent stalking is going to turn me off quickly and will never get you business.
  10. You can remain “on my radar” because you are professionally persistent. However when the right time comes, I will remember you.

In business to business selling, clients do not always need your services or products right now, but you can still get their interest for when they might.  That of course makes it a longer sales cycle, but it also doesn’t take a whole lot of your sales time.

“Make a customer not a sale.” Katherine Barchetti

Bring value.

Be relevant.

Remain in contact … on a schedule that makes sense.

You might call that “Pragmatic Persistence”!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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