So, what is the line between persistent and pest when it comes to securing appointments? Two calls? Three calls? Six?
A national study published in the Harvard Business Review recommends at least six approaches. After six approaches are when 90% of appointments are set. So, how many salespeople make six approaches?
About 4%. Yes, 4%. The majority of salespeople give up after two. To put that into perspective, making six contacts will give you a 70% increase in new appointments.
Follow These Steps to Secure Appointments
The numbers are very compelling, but you also have to think about how to communicate your concern for individuals as customers, the expertise you and your company bring to the table, and your problem-solving capabilities. We recommend you follow these steps:
Day 1: Email a testimonial from a satisfied customer. Let your prospect know exactly what's going to happen; you might include something like, "You're going to hear a lot from me over the next 10 days because I believe there are some compelling reasons why we should work together". Include your Valid Business Reason, and the specific time you will be calling on Day 3.
Day 3: Call the prospect at the time you specified. If you get voicemail, say you have more interesting information to share that you will send over the next week. Send a link to your LinkedIn profile (make sure it's updated and ready for prime time).
Day 6: Call again with an article or research you think will be interest the prospect. Send the email as soon as you hang up.
Day 7: Mail (yes, U.S. Mail!) a custom greeting card or personal letter asking the prospect to contact you. Or better yet, if you're in the area, stop by!
Day 11: Email the prospect again with your Valid Business Reason and a success story. Say you will be calling the next day at a specific time.
Day 12: Call at the time you promised and leave a voicemail. Let the individual know if he or she doesn't respond soon, you will have to bring your ideas to others but would prefer to work with him or her because...(use the same Valid Business Reason).
Day 16: (You’ll most likely have the appointment way before this) you could add some humor and reiterate you would not be calling unless you believed you could increase their bottom line. Suggest three times that the prospect could call you in the next few days and ask him or her to pick one.
Does this make you feel like a pest? I bet not, but if it does, know that our clients follow this same process with success. When you do breakthrough for an appointment, most prospects say, “Thank you for being so persistent. I have been totally immersed with another project, but I do want to talk.”
Don’t give up too soon, and follow a process that will actually get you on the radar screen of a very busy prospect sooner rather than later.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated.