Seven years ago my wife and I were blessed with our second child, who came by helicopter from a war-torn Lebanon. Because of the craziness surrounding her arrival, we spent several years weaving our way through the bureaucracy of her citizenship. In 2011 at the age of five, she finally received it two days before Thanksgiving; in a cheerful twist she played a pilgrim in her school’s play that very same day.
So – after that 5 year haul toward citizenship, you can imagine our surprise when the US government denied her passport application! We were more than shocked. We were panicked because the family trip to Canada that we had already planned and paid for was quickly approaching. With no time to waste, we rapidly tried many different ways to fix this problem, and every time we hit a roadblock. Needless to say, we could not accept “no” for an answer, and my wife was fired up to make this happen. Thankfully, she was persistent, polite, and strong… and had a strong sense of purpose. She never gave up.
While sitting in the US Passport waiting room one more time, I starting thinking about how persistent we need to be when we truly believe we can make a difference in someone’s business. Sometimes you know you have an ideal prospect, but they aren’t responding to your request for an appointment. Don’t give up after one or two attempts!
It typically takes a minimum of 7 attempts over 16 days to get an appointment. It might look something like this:
Day 1: Email Testimonial
Send a testimonial from a satisfied customer. Include your valid business reason and the specific time you will be calling on Day 3.
Day 3: Phone Call
Call the prospect at the time you specified. If you get voicemail, say that you have more interesting information to share and you’ll be sending it over the next week. As soon as you hang up, mail a copy of your personal marketing resume.
Day 6: Call Again with Research
Mention an article or research you found that you think will interest them. Tell them to look for an email with a link to this information.
Day 7: Personal Letter or Card
Mail a custom greeting card or a personal letter and ask them to contact you. Reiterate your valid business reason.
Day 11: Email the Prospect Again
Use your valid business reason and include a success story, drawing attention to the collaborative process you followed and the results you produced. Tell them the specific time you will be calling the next day.
Day 12: Call the Prospect Again
At the time you promised, leave a voicemail. Let them know if they don’t respond soon, you’ll have to bring these ideas to others, but you’d prefer to develop the opportunity you see with them. Send an email with research relevant to their business.
Day 16: Email With Some Humor
At this stage you might want to add a little humor as appropriate. Reiterate that you are in the business of creating specific value for your clients and would not be calling them unless you believed that you could increase their bottom line. Give them three times you are available to talk in the next few days, asking them to pick one or to call you on your mobile number.
It took my wife and I more than 7 attempts to get our daughter’s passport. But I will close with this: While composing this blog, sea mist is spraying over me and I’m looking out at one of the natural wonders of the world: Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.