Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.
The Selling Power Blog published a new article of mine, The Top 10 Steps Salespeople Can Take to Improve. The article includes a really terrific video on the importance of tonality. I thought it would be helpful to expand on item #5, Persistence, because selling requires more persistence than ever before.
While persistence has always been important in sales, we are in uncharted territory. Despite the abundance of tools to help you connect with people, the physical act of speaking with these connections is becoming exponentially more difficult. It might surprise you to learn that depending on how high up in the company you are calling, it could take 10 to 15 attempts to reach your contact.
Just 3 years ago, when I wrote this article about the subject, it was 8 attempts and I thought that was high. And to give you a sense as to just how little persistence there is out there, I wrote this article last year. Most of the focus on persistence is related to contacting new prospects.
What about the prospects who are far along in the sales process and suddenly go missing?
They don’t take your calls, don’t respond to your emails, and don’t let you know what’s going on. You think that only happens to you? Think again. It’s happening all over the place to all kinds of salespeople and companies. Is there suddenly an epidemic of rudeness? An alignment of prospects willing to take a stand against salespeople that are getting too close?
I’ll tell you what it is.
The epidemic is the emphasis on demos and the affliction known as happy ears. Salespeople succeed at getting prospects to watch, participate or take a demo. (The salespeople believe) they’re impressed with what they see. When they go to follow-up…nothing.
They get nothing because they deserve nothing because they did nothing related to actual selling!
They didn’t learn whether or not there was a compelling reason for their prospects to buy anything, to move their business to these salespeople, and they didn’t do much of any qualifying. And then, when they can’t get their prospects to return calls, they blame the prospects when the real problem was that the salespeople sucked, their sales process sucked, their sales management sucked and as you would expect, their results suck. Watch this one-minute video for a quick exercise you can do. The results might be jaw-dropping…
What can be done about this problem?
Stop giving demos. Just say no. If that’s what your prospect wants, then that’s your leverage. Once you part with it (your demo), your leverage is gone. So hold on to it, man! Hold on until you know there is a compelling reason for them to buy from you and you have thoroughly qualified them. You’ll be giving far fewer demos, but closing a much greater percentage. You’ve heard this before, “Less is More.” This is new math that won’t cause a headache!
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