Thursday, August 06, 2009

Be Productive Without Being a PEST!

Have you ever dealt with one of "those" people? You may even like their product but choose not to use them because they are just too much of a pest! Persistently pursuing a prospect without becoming a pest is a key challenge for today's sales, marketing and public relations professionals. We have to walk a fine line between being invisible and becoming a "pest." Today, business is much faster, less personal and more technical. This makes it much harder to gain access to key decision-makers. Consumers are smart, resourceful and savvy and they have more tools and choices than ever before. Due to the ease of the Internet, customers are only a click away from the competition.

There are pros and cons to increasing technology. The speed of technology enables us to reach more people in a shorter span of time. With the convenience of e-mail and electronic publishing, you can keep in touch with 10 times as many people in easily a third of the time. But, as we increase the number of prospects we can contact, we lose the personal touch. With the ability to contact more prospects also comes the challenge of tracking them and being super organized. In most cases advancing technology allows us to create professional-looking communications fast without having to spend a lot of money.

Key Challenges: There is a fine line to walk between going unnoticed and overwhelming potential clients with too much information or information that is not of interest to them. It is important to prepare and understand what their expectations for communication are. While prospects may be interested in a particular product or service, they might not be ready to buy at that particular moment.You want to stay in touch with prospects and keep communications open so that you are the chosen vendor when they are ready to buy!

Unless a message is highly differentiated or uncommonly attractive, it's unlikely you'll be remembered. They won't return calls, reply to e-mails, accept meetings, or go to websites, blogs or online newsletters. I have learned that most prospects don't want to be sold. Try to keep that in mind when communicating to them by offering information NOT forcing information. If I've already made initial contact with a prospect, I ask about the next steps and how to proceed. This gives me a better understanding of what the prospect expects and it also helps turn a sales call into a relationship. Sometimes keeping top-of-mind is challenging, so just ask the prospect: "How would you like me to stay in touch with you?"

Be courteous and respectful of your prospects time, and do you best to form a relationship where communication is natural and comfortable. Finally an old, yet effective method of staying in touch is to drop by and leave something for the receptionist to give to the prospect. Just be sure that it's interesting and relevant to them so that you will be productive and NOT a pest!


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