To paraphrase a famous quote from Douglas MacArthur – “Old deals never die; they just fade away.” Odds are, most of the deals that fall out of your pipeline you don’t technically ever “lose”, they just lose momentum until the deal is eventually gone. This can happen when a client has other priorities pop up, over vacations and holidays, or because the sales person loses focus (or interest) on the deal.
Deals require consistent action in order to move through the sales process. The problem is that during a longer sales cycle (60 days or more), there is likely to be a period of inactivity. Most sales people don’t want to come across as a pest, so they just wait a couple weeks, or even months. Unfortunately during that time the prospect often will redirect their attention to new priorities, and the pain they were feeling has subsided (usually because the incumbent staffing firm caught wind they were at risk of losing the account, so they stepped up their game).
But there are ways that you can maintain momentum even during the longest of sales cycles, and do it without coming across as the pushy sales person. Here are 8 ways you can keep communication flowing without irritating the prospect:
- Provide additional information that supports your value, and reinforces that they would be making a wise decision to move forward with you. Case studies, testimonials, and recent client successes are all great ways to keep positive thoughts in the head of your prospect.
- Invite them to an event. Invite your prospect to a webinar or executive breakfast you are hosting, or you are sponsoring an association event. Be careful inviting prospects to sporting events, concerts, or other non-work events. Some prospects will love it, while others might be turned off by the invitation.
- Send them a relevant article. Do a Google search of recent articles that address an issue or topic you have discussed. Then share the link with your prospect with a comment or two on why you are sharing it with them.
- Share a blog that you or someone in your company has written. Don’t have a blog? Consider writing one that specifically addresses one of the issues your prospect is having.
- Invite to tour or meet with an existing client. Prospects want to feel confident they are making the right choice – giving them access to one of your clients is one of the best ways to reassure them.
- Ask for their help. Go completely away from the topic of their business and instead ask them to share their expertise. Request their feedback on a question or issue you have that is unrelated to your deal.
- Share something personal. Did they mention that they love animals? Share a web article you just happened to run across (after you Googled it of course). Let them know that you saw it and thought of them.
- Send them a relevant business book. While sending flowers, a gift basket, or other gifts may be misconstrued by some as a bribe, receiving a relevant business book is almost never viewed that way. Look for something that is consistent with your value proposition, or with a topic that is near and dear to your prospect.
Regardless of the activity, the important piece to this is that you are maintaining momentum during the sales process. You should be interacting on at least a weekly basis with every opportunity in your pipeline. Above are eight ways that you can stay in front of your prospect without being perceived as pushy, or by just making meaningless status update calls and emails.
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