I signed-up a new client last week. Pretty excited about it, too. And it only took 2 years to make it happen! :-0
Do you have clients and prospects that are slow to respond? OK, maybe not 2-years-slow – and that was certainly an anomaly for us – but waiting to hear over a period of weeks, or even months, can be very challenging and incredibly frustrating.
Why does it take so long for buyers to make a decision? Well, in some cases, people are just lousy at pulling the trigger. It’s easier and safer to say ‘no’ than to say ‘yes.’ Saying ‘no’ involves no risk. For some, if the answer is going to be ‘no,’ they’re uncomfortable (i.e. scared) having to give someone the bad news.
There are plenty of other possible reasons, too:
- They don’t really have a need… they’re just ‘kicking the tires.’
- Your contact doesn’t have the buying authority, so he’s having to ‘sell it’ internally.
- They are involved in other operational/financial issues… and a new vendor is just not that high a priority.
- They’re taking their time to do some ‘due diligence’ on you.
- Maybe they’re shopping around.
- Switching vendors is a big deal… so it’s being discussed internally.
- There’s something going on in their personal life, so engaging a new vendor just isn’t that important.
Bottom line: the reason they take so long to respond doesn’t really matter. That fact is… with some buyers, you’re going to have to wait a while… and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well… there is one thing you can do.
You can stay in touch… stay top-of-mind. This requires regular and frequent touchpoints. Not necessarily sales-oriented touches (because too much of that is likely to pi**-off the buyer)… but friendly, helpful touchpoints that gently remind the buyer that you’re around and waiting to hear back.
So, how do you stay in touch over a period of weeks or months? It’s not that difficult, but it does require discipline. So, to help you create a touchpoint plan for your long wait time, here are 12 ideas for your consideration…
- Check-in emails: just what it sounds like. A simple, non-salesy email to see how they’re doing, what’s going on, how they’re holding up through COVID, etc.
- Check-in calls: like the email above, but by phone. And because it’s 2-way communication (unlike the email), you’ll have the opportunity to engage in the conversation wherever it leads.
- Coffee/meals: while this won’t happen anytime soon, when we do get back to normal, face-to-face interaction is the best way to stay top-of-mind and create a real relationship.
- Lunch-n-learns: again, not for a while, but consider offering to deliver a lunch-n-learn to your prospect’s/client’s team; it’s a great way to build a relationship, showcase your expertise and get to know others on their staff.
- Invitation to a webinar: putting on a webinar? Then invite these slow decision-makers personally… don’t just rely on email and social media posts and hope they show up.
- Birthday cards, etc.: remember the personal side of things… send birthdays cards or congratulations cards (e.g. if their child just got married).
- Make an introduction: prove yourself a valuable resource by introducing (via email) someone you think they might be interested in knowing.
- Profile them in a blog post: want to really stroke their ego? Offer to profile them in an upcoming blog post.
- Connect on LinkedIn: if you’re not connected with them on LinkedIn (and it’s an egregious error if you’re not!), then reach out and invite them to connect; that way, they’ll see everything you post moving forward (social posts are also good touchpoints).
- Endorse them on LinkedIn: depending on your relationship, you might want to endorse them on their LinkedIn profile; not only will that make them feel good, they’ll likely turn right around and do the same thing for you.
- Share ‘targeted’ resources: keep an eye out for shareable resources specific to that client… around their industry, market or area of specialty.
- Marketing help: make sure the marketing side of your firm is helping with their own series of touchpoints: enewsletters, social posts, advertising, etc.
You’ll notice none of these touchpoints are very salesy. They are all about maintaining top-of-mind awareness and being helpful. In an industry that doesn’t really embrace sales… the harder you push during the ‘wait time,’ the more likely they are to back away.
Beyond that, make sure whatever you decide on, that your touchpoints are reasonably frequent and consistent. That way, when they are finally ready to make a buying decision… it’s you and your firm they’ll think of.