One of the best compliments I get as a salesperson is that I stuck with them and helped them come up with a solution that worked for them. I call this “professional persistence”.
What is the opposite of someone being professionally persistent in sales?
We all know them. The salesperson that just doesn’t know when to quit. They call at inopportune times. They send you an e-mail every day. They send you a long drawn out note. They don’t listen. They just talk. They interrupt you. The annoying salesperson.
These people give all good sales people a bad name, and also seem to be the people that do not have enough self awareness to know when to stop. Every salesperson has been the annoying salesperson at some point. The good ones can recognize it and quickly right the ship.
In order to avoid that trap, here’s a few tips that I use to keep myself in line:
- Practice patience – Many times your annoyance will come from other people within the organization pressuring you to “follow up” and “shorten the sales cycle”. One, your company hired you to do sales and you are the expert in sales. You know the appropriate time to “follow up”. Keep reminding yourself and others of that. If you aren’t good at it, your results will show that anyway. Two, there is no such thing as “shortening the sales cycle”. The sales cycle is owned by the buyer. They have all the control. It is your job to be patient, listen for cues on timing, and being present and aware when the opportunity is ready. Again, you are the expert. Act like it!
- Keep a good CRM – If you keep accurate notes in your CRM, you can start to build an understanding of when it is appropriate to communicate with your prospect or client. Keeping this accurate CRM will also help with outside pressures. If you have accurate information and there is transparency within your CRM, there will be less questions of why you are keeping the schedule of interaction you are with the prospective buyer.
- Know when “no” actually means “no” – Again, all salespeople get told no a lot (Don’t Let Those L’s Kill You). Many times those no’s eventually turn into yes’s by playing the long game and figuring out exactly how to engage with a prospect. More times than not though, a no really is a no. It means I’m not interested, won’t be interested, and if you call me one time I’ll make sure anyone I know won’t be interested in you either. Over time you’ll build an instinct for when a no really is a no. If you have any doubts, just move onto the next one. You’re probably right. If you aren’t and they would have eventually came around, now you’ve put in more quality interactions with prospects you have more confidence in anyway.
By being patient, having accurate and helpful information, and trusting my gut one when something doesn’t feel right, I’ve become a good (not great, yet) salesperson that works incredibly hard to help prospects and clients win.