I have a library of stories of how I’ve annoyed my customers.
There was the one time ignored an email from a surgeon at 4pm Friday, the night I was traveling for my first weeks holiday abroad in 3 years.
He didn’t seem desperate for a quick reply so I left it in my inbox to come back to when I returned all relaxed and tanned.
The surgeon was politely chasing me about the delivery delivery dates of the endoscopy equipment I’d recently sold him.
I was awoken 3 days later at 2am in the morning (4pm UK time) by an angry phone call from my sales manager explaining that the surgeon had to cancel a list of 15 patients because he’d been expecting a quicker delivery than what we’d planned for him.
He cancelled his order and went with a competitor over that one.
I still haven’t learnt my lesson…
1) Not following up
There is no excuse. Yet we all do it.
All salespeople occasionally screw up by not promptly following up with their prospects from time to time.
Right now I’ve a couple of people in my pipeline that I’ve not spoken to for that long, even though they were getting ready to buy, that it’s now too embarrassing to email them.
They are fully qualified individuals who in most cases reached out to me in the first instance. They should be my go to, low hanging fruit, easy closing deals but I’ve ruined their buying experience by not keeping in touch.
The way I’m avoiding this happening again is by switching to Pipedrive CRM (a partner of the Salesman Podcast) as their visual overview of the sales funnel is stunning.
In a quick glance I can see who my time is best spent serving.
The alternative previously was to interact with whoever was sending me the most emails and so was at the top of my inbox.
The Pipedrive visual overview also allowed me to get rid of a bunch of dead leads which had clogged up my inbox for months.
It has a filter system so you can narrow down what’s displayed by date, product and more.
I deleted any lead that had been sat in my inbox for longer than 3 months and hadn’t had any serious movement along the sales funnel.
Before I went and massacred my sales funnel however, I sent this one final email to those prospects to see if I could reignite the lead –
Here’s an article we did recently that mentions your company [COMPANY NAME] – LINK
We haven’t spoken in a while about you coming on board as a partner to the Salesman.Red blog and Salesman Podcast. Typically when I haven’t heard back from someone it means they are either really busy or aren’t interested.
If you are still interested, what do you recommend as a next step?
Thanks for your help.
So far I’ve had 3/11 people I’ve sent it to reply, apologise to me (when I was the one who screwed up) for being mad busy and set up a phone call to get things back on track.
2) Not knowing enough
We’re living in the golden age of the internet.
There is enough public data available to mine that we can find insights about any prospect.
But it hasn’t gone too far that we’re scared of sharing this data for the risk of it incriminating or being used against us in the future (I think this time will come and everyone will start frantically deleting their online presence the best they can).
Once this happens the golden age will end.
Still many salespeople don’t research their prospects before they make contact.
Frankly, if you’re not researching your prospects before you contact them, you don’t deserve their money.
I recently interviewed Jon Ferrara on the Salesman Podcast and he blew my mind how simple it was to “Nimble” potential customers to get a current and extensive overview of –
- The contact you have had with your prospect (over every social channel)
- Reminders to keep in touch
- Shared interests you have with your prospect
- Your prospects social stream
It’s the simplest and most effective way I’ve come across to keep track of your prospects so when you call you always have something new to talk about.
3) Not pushing them forward
If a prospect didn’t want to be pushed gently towards a buying decision they would have bought your product or signed up to your service without you being involved.
Your company would probably prefer it.
It’s be cheaper, more streamlined.
There would probably be more buyers remorse and refunds requested but overall for most CEO’s less staff is a hugely positive shift for their P&L accounts.
So get excited when that qualified prospect wimps out of the deal.
See it as a challenge to explain to them that they connected with you for a good reason.
Then get them to the next stage in your CRM by the end of today. They will thank you for it when they’re using your product and they’re saving a boat load of time or money.
4) Not customising EVERYTHING
Ian Brodie is an online marketer who recently joined me on the Salesman Podcast to discuss how to influence prospects over email.
Our conversation soon developed into Ian sharing how jealous he is of the opportunity sales professionals have in the market.
Ian explained that online marketers have to use fancy templates (that never work), random lists of email contacts (that didn’t want to hear from you) and ‘automated tools’ (that require endless hours of setting up) because they are emailing thousands of potential prospects at a time.
Sales professionals have the advantage in this numbers game because we can pick and choose who we want to learn more about and attempt to add real value to.
This means our odds of success aren’t 0.5% (which many marketers would be thrilled with) they’re 80-90% depending on the market and your qualifying skills.
So why do salespeople STILL send me emails when they’ve not even bothered to customise with my first name?!
Are you serious?
Nothing annoys a prospect more than spam from a marketer, other than spam from a salesperson.