Customer Experience News & Trends

Ways to break through prospect resistance

While it’s important to keep showing up, and offering ideas and information to prospects, there is a line between being persistent and being a nuisance. The difference between being persistent and a nuisance lies in the content of your communication. 

Being a nuisance

If every communication is an obvious attempt to sell the customer, you may quickly become a nuisance. If every communication includes value-producing information, you will be seen as being persistent in a good way.

Timing is everything

The secret to persistence is knowing when to wait patiently and when to strike. Since you don’t know when the right time is, being a constant presence ensures that you’re there when it’s time to strike.

Wait out the roadblocks

Sometimes you have to wait out the roadblocks. Be patient and act with restraint, knowing that things will turn in your favor. When they do, you’ll be there, ready to act aggressively to capitalize on the opportunity.

Improve and apply persistence

Here are three ways to improve and apply persistence:

  1. Re-frame setbacks. Setbacks and obstacles are a part of sales, and there’s no way to avoid them. Instead of attaching negative meaning to them, re-frame setbacks and obstacles as feedback that may help you make adjustments. Selling is like solving a puzzle. When you get stuck, try something new, become more resourceful, and persist until you find an approach that works.
  2. Reset the game clock. In basketball, the game is over when the buzzer sounds. There is no buzzer in sales because the game never ends. As long as you have the ability to help your prospects produce better results, keep calling on them. You may think a certain sales opportunity has been lost, but the game hasn’t ended — it’s just begun. Be persistent and take actions today that will help you win the prospect in the future. Every time you fail to make a sale, move the hands of the game clock back to the beginning of play and start over. Banish all thoughts of a game-ending buzzer, because the game is never over.
  3. Try something new. Success is often a matter of experimentation — endless attempts to find the key that opens an opportunity. Think of an outcome you’re trying to achieve and make a list of actions that can move you closer to your goal. Don’t worry about how big and transformational or small and insignificant these actions may be. Keep working this list, pausing only to review the outcomes of your actions, capture feedback and make adjustments. The key to being professionally persistent is to access an arsenal of tools, ideas and techniques. Keep calling and never fail to nurture relationships, even when there’s no indication that you will ever have a real shot at transforming that prospect into a customer. Never give up! It’s a sure-fire road to success.

It’s never over

Persistence means that you hear “no” and continue pursuing an opportunity. Make a list of the deals you’ve lost in the last 12 months. How many of these prospects have you continued to pursue? If these prospects were worth pursuing then, they’re worth pursuing now. Restart your prospecting effort by calling to reengage each of these prospects by sharing a new value-creating idea. Some of these prospects may already be unhappy they chose your competitor. They may be waiting for you to call.

Optimism and persistence

Your optimism enables you to persuade prospects that a better future is not only possible, but certain. It enables the creation of a positive vision. You can’t be a pessimist and influence prospects. People follow people who believe success is inevitable.

Take the initiative

You influence prospects by taking the initiative and being proactive. Actions speak louder than words. Apathy, the opposite of initiative, destroys your ability to be persistent. No prospect — or customer — is influenced by complacency.

Demonstrate accountability

You can only be persistent when you care about your prospects’ businesses and take all actions necessary to ensure that they receive the outcomes they paid for — and more. Accountability is an act of caring, and caring creates trust, which is the foundation of influence and persistence.

Persistence and influence

Your indomitable spirit — your determination and willingness to persevere — impresses prospects and customers. Your persistence adds to your influence, because customers know you can be counted on to continue when other salespeople may abandon their efforts.

Adapted from: The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, by Anthony Iannarino, an international keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, sales leader, and sought-after sales coach. He works and teaches at Capital University’s Capital School of Management and Leadership.

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