Prospecting and The Joy of Persistence

We expect instant results.  We rarely get them.  We’ve all heard the quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”  It’s been attributed to Einstein, but he never said it.  Ditto Benjamin Franklin.  There’s a case to be made for sticking with a strategy.

Here’s a great joke I came across online over the weekend: 

“You ought to feel highly honored,” said the businessman to the life insurance agent.  “So far today, I’ve had my secretary turn away seven life insurance agents.”  “Yes, I know,” replied the agent.  “I’m all of them.” (1)

The Problem Facing Many Newer Advisors

Everyone needs a strategy to fill the prospect pipeline.  The problem faced by many newer people is they put a strategy in place and nurture it along until it’s about to produce results, but then determine “This isn’t working.”  They drop it and start with another strategy instead.  They keep repeating the process, implementing a series of failed strategies. 

So What’s The Solution?

A better approach is to put a strategy into place, look at the results regularly and make incremental improvements.  If you were sending e-mail messages with poor results, you might read an article about rewording the subject line.  If you were posting or messaging on LinkedIn, you might research what hours or days are best for getting your message read.  You don’t abandon the strategy, you make incremental improvements. 

Another problem is the “One and done” approach.  They plan a public seminar, get poor results and abandon seminars as a result.  We must remember the general rules “You must tough a person 6+ times before you register on their radar screen.  Your seminar should be part of a three or four month series of monthly seminars.  The people you invite to the first should be followed up and recycled through the series.

We call people and they often string us along.  You can’t call and say: “Have you made a decision yet??”  Obviously, you come with new information, hoping they associate hearing from you with learning something valuable.  But still, you are calling and wondering if they are thinking “You again!”

This is an opportunity to have fun.  One of my favorite expressions is: “I hope you consider persistence a virtue.”  That often gets a laugh.  It’s important to understand how your follow up can increase your standing in their eyes.  They might own the company and have a salesforce.  They might manage salespeople.  They might have started their career in sales.  Follow up is where many people in sales fall down.  Your diligent follow up can earn their respect as they think: “I wish our team was this persistent.”

It also helps to offer them an out.  Mention “This might not be the right time.”  That lets them opt out if they really aren’t interested but can’t find the words.  Assuming that’s not the case, it helps you establish what the right time might be, since you have already established your professionalism.

There are many reasons why tactful, polite persistence can pay off.

Related: Responding to: “I Already Have an Advisor”