Working title: "Why I Hate Following Up With Lukewarm Leads: Confessions of a Former Salesperson"
There are very few things I hate more than a pushy salesperson, one of them being the infamous “follow-up” call or email. “Hey! Remember me? I offered to sell you (blank) and I either didn’t hear from you or you made it pretty clear that you didn’t want to buy anything, but I’m back! I’m going to try to get you to buy (blank) one, two, or three more times!”
If you want to experience something more awkward than calling your middle school teacher “mom” by accident, I assure you, practice this. I’ve been there, unfortunately, thanks to a former career in sales and the ultimate sales manager “showing me how it’s done.” The pushy follow up is not only incredibly uncomfortable for the person at the receiving end who frankly does not want your shit, but also for the person making the call. (Unless, of course, you’re a needy 14-year old.)
How to Sell Without Being Salesy
1. Get a Good Read
Pay attention to the way this person carries themselves. Are they articulating their needs in a manner that you understand? Are they being respectful, and acknowledging the value in what you offer? Or, are they badgering you about pricing, trying to “make a deal”? Take note of these clues. If you foresee a constant defense of worth with this person, save yourself the headache. If they show genuine interest and respect, follow up.
2. Show Them the Good Stuff
Send them the stand-out work that you’re most proud of, and work that you’re confident in explaining and telling the story behind. Show them the love that you have for your work, and why you love doing it. People are going to connect with that relationship, and they will trust you to provide the same for them.
3. Play it Cool
Really, act natural. Act like you’re not expecting to be handed a check for a million dollars. Don’t even expect a “where do I sign up?” Have a conversation, as you would with a good friend. Be yourself. Be genuine. Don’t hide behind a sales pitch.
4. Once is Enough
Contact has been made, work has been shown or sent off. A week has gone by, and you haven’t heard from the prospective client. My rule is to only follow up once after the initial meeting. One time, that’s it. Your dream client will know right away (or soon after) if it’s the right fit. Dream clients will ask “when can we get started?” because they are already connected. Anything after is not only a waste of your time and energy, but a real look of desperation and annoyance to your not so dreamy client.