TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE
Chris: On this episode of Intent Topics. We’re going to be talking about polite persistence in the sales process.
Chris: Logan, what’s up bro? How are we doing today?
Logan: What’s up dude?
Chris: Oh yeah. Having a good one, huh?
Logan: Yeah, man. This week has been, this week has been up and down. But, you know, you go through it right? Things are going well now.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. Things are moving. Pipeline’s looking good. Definitely working very well.
Logan: Yeah. Just huge. Like today, just huge leaps and bounds. So-
Chris: Yeah. So fun.
Logan: Yeah, man. Yeah.
Chris: Couple of great partnership conversations too. It’s exciting. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on with this Intent data business. I’m fired up that we’re in it.
Logan: Oh man. We got a bunch of new great clients, bunch of partnerships we’re talking about. So yeah, let’s talk about stuff. What are we talking about?
Chris: Polite persistence. Okay. What do you know about that?
Logan: That is an email that I sent to everybody this morning that I received from a prospect. So one of the clients that we work with, that I work with kind of more heavily, received an email that thanked me for my polite persistence. And so I looked up how many times had that had that person been contacted. And so that person had been contacted, I believe it was, six times since June. They had been in the database since April and had about four touches before that between calls and emails. So it was about, I think it was about 10 touches over the course of five months that this particular company had been touched.
Chris: So what does that tell you?
Logan: You know it’s funny, I think… So coming from sort of the sales management world and listening to some of the things that get said. And then coming into this like SMB B2B space and hearing leaders, and entrepreneurs, and sophisticated salespeople talking about how there’s these kind of excuses like, “I don’t want to sound too pushy,” which is fair. “I don’t want to come across as desperate,” which is fair. What are some of the other things? I mean the plethora of reasons that you would stop following up with a particular company or lead that your company identified as a good fit in the AVN model.
Chris: Yeah. Well, and it’s just also just kind of an attaboy that this works, right?
Chris: We commit that… we’ve committed that it’s a set number of touch points. It varies right, by company or industry?
Chris: But it’s just good to hear that somebody, instead of being like, “Go screw off, I’m sick of you hitting me up.” It’s like, “Hey, thanks for staying on me. I’m [inaudible 00:03:26] now.”
Chris: Like this is working, right?
Logan: Yeah. Yeah. And so I think what I’d like to talk about today is how a company can set themselves up to be able to accomplish this. Right? You have to earn the right with the prospect to follow up that many times. You have to earn that right.
Chris: Yeah. Well get going. Let’s talk about it right now. Let’s crank. So what you’re saying… Go ahead.
Logan: Yeah. Yeah. So the first part I think we need to look at is why salespeople and why sales organizations, or like sales ops and in marketing and demand gen let a prospect go. And there is a large percentage of people who think that staying on a prospect or a company, for that matter, right? You might stop following up with one person and find other people in that organization to reach out to, to start a conversation. Cause that’s how you’re trying to do is start a conversation. There’s a large percentage of people who think that persistence equals spammy.
Logan: And I understand why that is, but it’s because most persistence is spammy, right?
Chris: Right. Yeah.
Logan: So what is spam? I mean, you get something in your inbox or you get a phone call that is literally just like, “Buy this, buy this, buy this. I want to have a conversation with you.” I want to have a conversation with you. Not… There’s no value to the prospect. Right?
Chris: Right. Yep.
Logan: Sometimes the reason that a prospect or that a sales team or marketing team sort of stops following up with somebody is it’s kind of derived from not wanting to be spammy, but they start focusing on like the outcome from one email or like as a sales person, one phone call. Like, what was that outcome? Well, it wasn’t a win so what are we going to do? It’s not worth it. It’s not worth following up with that person. You know, they’re going to get mad. I feel like most prospects get mad in sales people’s minds than they actually do. Right? Like there’s a whole conversation that gets constructed, you know what I mean?
Chris: All right.
Logan: Do you agree or disagree?
Chris: I’m thinking about it. I’m like, “Well, yeah, probably, I guess.” I mean, you’re probably more of a proper salesman then than I ever have been, but I see what you mean.
Logan: But the reason that people who are from… You’re from the marketing side, right? You don’t want to sound spammy. You don’t want to bother people.
Chris: I don’t want to sound authentic. And I’m actually looking… I’m looking at this email in my junk box that is so spammy for so many reasons. I’m going to point them out. And if this is off topic, I don’t even care. But for starters, this ended up in my junk mailbox. The subject says this email sucks, which it does, but I’m going to continue on why. So the first line says, “Chris, I know this email sucks. No interactivity, no beautiful graphics, emotion, no irresistible CTS, no realtime personalization. At least I got your name right.” That’s kind of funny. But anyways, there’s all these gimmicky shit, right? There’s this like, “Oh, check out our website.” There’s no link to the website. “And if it sounds interesting, might you have 24 minutes to learn more?” Like why 24 that’s gimmicky, right? And this is all about an email service provider software. It’s got an unsubscribe. You know, like I hate this email for so many reasons. It makes me want to respond and be like, I actually hate this email for reasons you don’t even realize.
Logan: Right, right. So can we break it down? Because I think that this… So when we talk about earning the right to be persistent, which I think is the point of this, right?
Logan: The idea is when somebody interacts with you, you need to present them a specific type of value, or on the kind of path to solving a problem, or-
Chris: Starting a conversation.
Logan: Starting a conversation, providing value and opportunity. Right?
Logan: So that email is literally really a long version of saying, “I want you to talk to me because I want you to talk to me.”
Logan: Right? I can tell you that the email that we sent to, I can’t disclose exactly what we said to the one that we got with the polite persistence, but it was an emotional appeal of a shared problem and an offer for a solution. That’s what it was, and it was current, it was relevant to current events. Cannabis space. Right? So relevant to current events.
Logan: And in that 10 touches before we had never once sounded salesy, but what we were talking about were problems that might not have been relevant to him or opportunities that might not have been relevant to him. Enough… The people make decisions when value exceeds cost. Right? So the cost of his time, at that point, was more than the value I was providing in those emails, but I was still providing some. That email doesn’t provide any value, in my opinion.
Chris: No. It’s just like overly quirky that is desperate.
Logan: Yes. “Oh, that’s different.”
Chris: And I still don’t even know why I should have a conversation with this [inaudible 00:09:21].
Logan: Exactly. Exactly. So I think sales leaders and salespeople need to really ask themselves what value is that communication providing. Not every communication is going to end up in a appointment deal. Whatever. We’ve talked about, before on this podcast, we’ve talked about planting value in an inbox and then replying in thread with the call to action. So no call to action, just pure like, “Hey, this is cool. I’m not trying to bother you. I’m trying to, provide you value.” And then that builds that story arc.
Chris: Yeah. It’s like conversational consent. It’s like, “All right, you know what, I’m going to talk to you because you’ve proven some value. I’m not ready to give you money.” Right? “But let’s talk.”
Logan: Right. So then that leads me to the… Everybody has the breakup email.
Chris: Yep. Or voicemail, right? Yeah.
Logan: Why would you send that? You desperate piece of crap.
Chris: I know. So it’s not email, but I’ve been getting… I just got the breakup email from this woman that was selling me small business loans, and this was polite persistence. It was phone calls, which I find that impolite, don’t call me. But there was a point [crosstalk 00:11:00] where it’s like-
Logan: I love cold calling.
Chris: I know you do. I hate… Don’t… If it was up to me I’d never talk to humans on a cell phone. But anyway, it was about…
Logan: Would you talk to me if I called?
Chris: Yeah, I’m talking to you right now. But she was so convincing, “Hey, just want to talk, the rates are X, Y, Z.” And by like after like seven voicemails, slightly different, but she definitely had a process. And I know, I absolutely know that these were all canned responses, but I almost thought I needed a business loan at some point. Right? But I don’t. And then there was this breakup and… But it was interesting, it was pretty honest. It was like, “Hey, so reached out a bunch of times. I’m going to just kind of hang on your file. I won’t keep reaching out, but if you find you…” It was like definitely like, “When you’re ready, call me.” But I know it was a breakup call. I just know. But I thought it was, for whatever reason, I thought it was as tasteful as you can be with cold calling I guess. Right? And leaving me voicemails. But it was just so clear to me that it was a breakup.
Logan: Yeah. So what happens… I guess my thing is what happens when all of a sudden you become relevant to this prospect, and you’ve spent three months trying to contact him, provide value?
Logan: And by the way, iPhone, the voicemail transcription. It’s like sending an email. It’s like sending them an email, if you can clearly enunciate things like a URL. Brilliant. [crosstalk 00:12:37].
Chris: Oh yeah. And now that we know that there’s voicemail recording software it’s even easier, right? Like you can nail the voicemail to make sure it transcribes well.
Logan: Right? Exactly. Exactly. So the idea that you would even try to break up with somebody, it kind of flies in the face of like persistence wins. Right? Because you are literally giving up and you’re making it the prospect’s fault.
Chris: Yeah, that’s true. It’s interesting.
Logan: You decrease the value to yourself. So I think instead of breaking up, find somebody else in the organization that might be worth calling on, or emailing, or connect with somebody on LinkedIn. Learn more about the organization if it’s truly worth selling into. But if you’re just literally linearly going after one person in the company.
Chris: Yeah. I mean, that’s interesting too, right? Because in this particular situation, this person probably only had my phone number, I think my name, definitely not my email, never referenced this company. Right? So there really wasn’t much to work on anyways. So at a certain point, if all you have is a series of attempts. That’s it?
Logan: Yes, if all you have is a phone number and a guy’s name or a gal’s name, you probably aren’t very good at your job. I mean-
Chris: Well that’s kind of the point of what you do. The point here is, arm yourself with the data so you’re talking to the right person, the right time, with the messaging that resonates. Like that’s the whole point of what we do. That’s why when I see shit like this, I can’t… Just like, “You’re so bad at that and I know what you’re doing. I know your tricks. Actually. I’m better at tricks than you. I know your tricks so well.”
Logan: Right, right. Exactly. Exactly. So to bring it back to the point.
Chris: The polite persistence?
Logan: Yeah. I think everybody can follow up with a prospect for as many times as it takes to turn it into a lead. Most of the people that you outreach when you’re prospecting won’t become a lead. It’s how this works.
Chris: Right. So you’re saying there is no set number of… There’s no appropriate set number of reach outs?
Logan: You… As a sales professional or a sales leader, you start to understand what the breaking point is. I can guarantee you my rant from the other day. It’s longer than everybody thinks.
Chris: Totally. Yeah.
Logan: So the idea is though, if you have five touches, or six touches, or 10 touches into an organization, slow down on prospecting that one person and start to try to cover, start a conversation around them. This is account based marketing. Reach out to the guy’s boss, reach out to the guys whatever… His charges, right? Go up, go down, go to the side. Like…
Chris: Also get curious. Right? So for example, a vendor that I was talking to, probably almost a year ago, reached out and it just happened that our business, our tech stack, our systems have evolved to the point where we finally grew into that solution. And I hadn’t even been thinking about it, but I knew that we’d outgrown what we’re using. Right? And there this guy showed up. So my point is, that’s a coincidence, but the point is if he got to know the business, maybe it’s not a coincidence, right? But maybe he was like, “All right, this company’s growing. They’re building out their systems. We’re a bit further up to the mid size business kind of solution.” [inaudible 00:16:34] this guy, once in a long while, maybe a year to see how much they’ve grown.
Logan: Yeah, absolutely. I mean that’s adjusting your cadence. Right?
Chris: Right, exactly.
Logan: If I get a lead in, like an inbound lead, I’m going to follow up with him like crazy for the first two weeks.
Chris: Yeah. Then back it off.
Logan: And then back it off and then it’s… Because like when I was 20, I’m a car salesman, I’m sitting on my desk. And it’s like the days that you complained about nobody coming in, right, would be the days that you wouldn’t even get a customer. Nobody would walk through the door. The days that I made a hundred phone calls, none of those hundred phone calls would show up, but somebody would come in I’d sell a car to.
Logan: Outrageous. So it’s like-
Chris: Non-correlated, but almost like a universe or like a mental mindset, right? Yeah.
Logan: Yeah. And so it’s like being diligent, being disciplined, stuff starts to pop up. And I think that’s where it’s like you, he sends that email, he makes that phone call, right? And all of a sudden you’re… He made a hundred phone calls that day or 30 phone calls that day. 29 of them resulted in nothing. But what if that happened every day to any salesperson? It could happen every day that they get a demo, or a appointment, or a sale, or whatever because they are cultivating, staying on, being very careful as to provide value with each outreach, not sound desperate, but also you’re selling something. It’s not crazy to say, you know…
Chris: Yeah. Or just boil it down to the old fashioned, like you’ll fail 100% of the time if you don’t ever do it, or you’ll never catch a fish if your line’s not in the water. Right? [crosstalk 00:18:25] Step one show up. Right? So that was back to the persistence thing. It’s like, just keep going. Right?
Logan: And then don’t be a jerk. Be valuable. Yeah, that’s one of the first times I’ve ever been called polite.
Chris: I didn’t call you polite.
Logan: No, no, I… Today. That’s probably the first time I’ve ever been called polite. I mean I’m not a jerk.
Chris: They didn’t point blank say you are polite. Said thank you for your polite persistence.
Chris: Just your persistence was polite.
Logan: I’ll deal with you. I’ll deal with it. I will take the polite. They called me polite. That’s my…
Chris: You going to bring down to the dinner table all proud tonight?
Logan: Yeah. Yeah. “Hey babe-
Chris: “I’m so polite. Yeah. Grab that plate for you, I’ll do the dishes even”. All right you want to wrap this up?
Logan: I hope this was valuable to everybody. Yeah, let’s wrap it up.
Chris: Yeah. Well let’s be very polite here and thank everyone for joining us on Intent Topics today. I’m Chris Battis.
Logan: And I am Logan Kelly. Thank you so much everybody for stopping by. Please do give us a five star rating on Apple podcast, Spotify, and whatever podcast app you might listen to. We will see you next time.
Chris: Take care.