The definition of “contact” can imply many things. In our case, I will focus on just one. Although more business is being conducted today from a distance, I am a firm believer that selling is, and will remain top be, a “contact support.” Putting a personality to your name is important, and there is no limit to the ways this can be accomplished.
By “contact,” I mean an event that helps you remain visible over time. You may have been introduced to the “Rule of 7” which implies the importance of a defined continuity in your approach. The rule specifically states seven touches over an 18-month period. It is important to realize that there is nothing magical about these numbers … they simply imply that a persistent and consistent approach is called for in a world filled with so many distractions, options and choices for … everything.
Why so many sales practitioners refrain from maintaining a persistent follow up program can be summed up in a simple finding. They don’t want to be considered boorish … or overly aggressive … or self-serving. They forget about the good they are providing and bend to what others may think.
The truth of the matter is that without consistent contact the chances of developing a meaningful relationship are a little better than lousy. Trust takes time, and you can’t expect people to “trust you” by simply suggesting that they do.
Another reason why contact is such a formidable task is because there is not enough planning before contact is initiated. Too many sales professionals feel that they were blessed with the “gift-of-gab,” and that this allows them to “wing” their way through presentations. Once they experience a negative experience they are fast with an excuse and fly off to the next opportunity.
These “one-time” hit men and women are doomed for failure. You need to develop a sales campaign based on a number of touch points. There literally are no shortcuts here. Time and effort must be invested in return visitations in order for trust to take root.
Emails, phone calls, letters, meetings, chance contacts are ways for you to put your sincere interest, sense of humor, and product knowledge on display that will eventually end up working in your favor.
Remember this: “Selling is a contact sport.” Initiate and maintain “contact.”
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