Nurture Don’t Annoy

Closing your unready sales leads is a delicate nurturing process.

If someone is not ready to buy now, is there anything you can do to get them to move forward? You might be able to coerce, threaten, bribe or annoy, but you will likely not be welcome back to a conversation again. It’s a brainless way of cutting off future dialogue and opportunities as well as destroying your credibility.

When you look at most sales processes, there is usually a drive to get a meeting, a presentation or a demo. Then the prospective customer finally gives their full attention, hopefully, and listens to your pitch. Then you send them an offer of some sort, likely a proposal. This culminates the biggest part of your sales process.

You were able to present what you do and find a fit.

The ideal customer moves forward immediately after the whole presentation. However, if your sales pipeline is like most businesses, ideal customers are rare. The norm is that most people walk through the sales process, and then the long lull happens. You are stuck on third base, and people are trying to overcome the emotion, budget or whatever else is keeping them from moving forward.

If you push too hard at this phase, you risk losing a relationship and a deal. If you continue to call and say, “I wanted to check in and see if you are ready to move forward,” then you will become annoying.

There will be a reason your prospect filters you on their caller ID and doesn’t respond to your emails. They don’t want to be bugged. They are in the purgatory phase of the sales cycle. It’s not a “yes” or a “no:. It’s a deliberation.

Nurturing as the Value Strategy

However, what if you were able to hone in and remain relevant while your prospective customer is deliberating? They are not quite ready yet. In addition, they are pulled in a hundred different directions like you are. They had a good time listening and dialoguing about your solution to their problem, but they are back in the grind.

As time passes, they think of you less.

That is, unless, you remain relevant and continue to percolate to the top of their thoughts.

This is where nurturing becomes critical. It’s not pushy, nor is it presumptive. It is professional and focuses on value.

Your customer has not made a decision yet. They have to get there intellectually and emotionally. They need time, but you don’t want them to forget about you.

Thus, you have to bring value and remind them of why they agree with you. Nurturing your prospects consistently helps them to remember their reasoning for engaging.

Content that nurtures and positions you as a thought leader is not easy work. It is rigorous and requires you to get inside of your customers’ heads, but it is honest work. You are broadcasting what works and why it works. In so doing, you are presenting yourself to provide success and return on value to your customers who are still not at a decision point.

If you don’t do this, then you become less relevant over time. There is not a touchpoint that continues to remind the customer why you matter. They forget that awesome sales meeting. They are on to new things.

Nurturing is a high leverage activity. It is the broader pipeline which keeps those that have made it through your sales process engaged. It moves the “maybe” customers towards confidence.

It also keeps you from moving to an annoying position in the mind of the customer. You remain professional and bring continual value for doing business directly and getting referrals.

As you think about your own approach to sales, what if you filled the gap between the final sales step and the decision to buy with nurturing?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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