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How Much Persistence Is Just Right?

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How Much Persistence?

You know the feeling.

You’ve had the sales call and/or meeting with a potential client—maybe even several. And then they go dark.

How do you strike the right balance in pursuing them? Where do you draw that fine line between following up vs. crossing over into stalker territory?

Think of it this way: you want your level of persistence to match your brand and your business model.

Your follow-up would look very different if your typical lead-time was a few days vs. a year or two—maybe you add new clients slowly, but then they become clients for life. Or if you deliver mission-critical work on tight deadlines vs. work that is less time-sensitive.

And just to be clear, persistence isn’t about turning yourself into a pesky salesperson that is focused more on his own needs than the outcomes for the client.

If you’re naturally a more laid back seller, your challenge isn’t to turn aggressive but to make sure you continue to act when warranted.

Think of being persistent as simply giving your client the opportunity to make a decision.

Consider three big-picture strategies for following up with your clients and prospects.

Treat everyone the same. In this case, you have a business development funnel that is clearly linked to your brand. High touch, low touch, it doesn’t really matter. You treat all prospects and clients consistently. You draw the right ones in—those who resonate with you—and repel the rest with your consistency. People who don’t like your style will magically disappear. This approach is perfect if your pipeline is always or almost always full.

Treat clients as distinct groups or channels. Not just by industry or geography or product line, but by how they want to be courted and by their relative timeline for wanting your services. You keep your contacts warm (this is what blogs, articles and thoughtful sharing were designed for) and are prepared to play the long game. Great for project-oriented advisors who want to keep a steady flow of referrals and new starts.

Treat each as an individual. You pay attention to what they say and how they respond to your overtures. You adjust yours accordingly—either moving to get closer to them or pulling back when they need room. While this is difficult to pull off in volume, it’s very successful in high-touch, expensive, long-lead time sales, like wealth advisory services or business strategy consulting.

When you’re deep in the trenches with a particular prospect, the key to following up is to make it about them. The more urgent THEIR deadline or problem, the more intense your persistence.

Think of persistence as the art of building the right relationships for your business.

Related: Authority And The Beginner’s Mind

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