As a sales manager I used to walk to the front of our bullpen and make this announcement:
"From now on, only call those people who are going to say YES!"
Of course, it was a joke-sort of.
Wouldn't it be great if we invested 100% of our time pursuing prospects with 100% potential?
Talk about efficiency!
That cannot happen, but we can do something nearly as canny. Quickly eliminate about 80% of the people we have already tried to cultivate who have what I consider ZERO POTENTIAL.
When it comes to prospects there are cherries and there are pits. We want to pay most attention to the cherries, ripe and sustaining as they are.
Pits will never become cherries, even if they were cherries at one former time.
Whatever you do, don't PIT-POLISH, buffing them up through lots of wasted attention and tender loving care. Find more cherries!
By definition, if you polish pits, you'll deny yourself the time to pursue more of the life-sustaining orbs. So, abandon zero-potential prospects immediately.
(1) If you cold call and don't get someone on the line, leave a great message that invites them to contact you by phone or by email.
(2) If they don't get back to you in short order, I'd possibly leave one more message at most, or I'd send an email, inviting their responsive contact.
(3) Any more attention invested on your part, without a meaningful showing of a pulse in your counterpart, is pit-polishing.
Alas, this isn't what we do. Unconsciously, we think someone who hasn't responded might have 5% potential, and if we simply follow-up 20 times, he'll be 100% qualified and miraculously ripen into a cherry!
By the way, you might have wondered why I encouraged you to leave a voice mail message. Look, you already bothered to dial, to try to get the person on the line, and you're invested. Why not craft a compelling pitch that has a chance of piquing interest?
I'll share more about scripting that vital voice mail message in another article.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top speaker, sales, customer service and negotiation trainer, best-selling author, and TV and radio commentator. He conducts seminars and convention presentations around the world and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org His profile can be read at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/a91/833