SALES TIPS FROM STRONG CLOSER READERS
Frequency and Recency of Contact Keeps Long Sales Cycles Alive
You’ve been calling on a prospect for over two years. Suddenly he gets ready to buy, and he didn’t even call you to give you a chance. He buys from someone else. What went wrong?
I have learned this lesson: It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been calling on the prospect or how many times you’ve spoken to him or her, as much as how close your last contact was to the point in time when they are ready to buy.
Ever wonder why Coke and Pepsi run ads every month of the year? I mean, is there an American alive who doesn’t know about Coke and Pepsi? That’s not the issue. Big advertisers have discovered that knowing about a brand isn’t enough. Our decision to buy a product is also influenced by how recently we heard about it. The premise is this: If you go to the grocery store today and buy cola, and you aren’t a Coke or Pepsi die-hard, you are more likely to buy the brand for which you saw a TV commercial this week rather than a month ago.
It probably works the same for the product you sell. The prospect may know about you and the features of your product; but all other things being equal, he will think first of the product that was most recently visible to him.
Remaining visible at a time like this, when the whole business world is turned upside-down, is not easy. Nor is it easy in normal times when the buyer or his company may be experiencing their own challenges. But you must remain in contact from time to time if you hope to get the business, and these contacts much always be perceived as beneficial by the buyer.
What does this mean to you? Having called on a prospect one or more times is not enough. You need to establish a regular contact schedule with every important prospect. Visit in person when you can, with phone contacts in between. And between those, send a letter or brochure or article reprint or something that will keep your name in the forefront of the prospect’s mind at least once a month until you either close the prospect or disqualify them.
L. Meyers, Fresno, CA