Doing More With Less
Selling can be a delicate process requiring the finesse of a diamond cutter.
I was approached recently by someone who wanted to sell me a service I have no need for now, but might at some time in the future. I told him I have no clients in this sector right now. He continues to e-mail me every couple of weeks, telling me how great his service is. I don’t need those e-mails; I have his contact information. And now he’s beginning to annoy me.
On the other hand, I was approached a few months ago by another person who sells office furniture. My company is moving soon, so I took his call. I had to tell him I needed to work through the purchasing department of my corporate office. Despite that, he continued to stay in touch by e-mail, and when the deal through corporate started to go sideways, I asked for a bid from my persistent friend.
What was the difference? The furniture salesperson understood that timing and relevance were as important as any other factors. The time was right to be more aggressive. I was in the middle of negotiations, and he knew anything could happen until I signed a contract with someone else.
Lead nurture is a tricky business. Automating the process sounds like a great idea, but you need to be very careful. And sometimes it works best if you eliminate the lead generation process entirely!
When Less Is More
Several years ago, my company began working with a new client. It sold a service to small businesses and had a large, national sales force. Naturally, I assumed it called my agency because it wanted a bigger, better lead-generation program. After all, that’s what we sold them.
But then I took a look at what the client had been doing—it wasn’t true lead generation. Salespeople didn’t ask for appointments, and they didn’t want to send out a fat fulfillment kit in response to a postage-paid reply card. They wanted to talk directly to prospects who were already close to buying.