“No one,” I said.
“Why not? It’s such a great idea, and for any decent-sized company, the cost is a drop in the bucket.”
I told her that I had contacted 20 people in December, and that while there was initial interest from several, I hadn’t closed any deals. She asked how I’d gotten in touch with these individuals, and how I’d followed up. I said that I e-mailed each person twice total.
“Well, that’s the problem right there. No one reads e-mail.”
Avoiding the Phone At All Costs
I’ve long suspected that a lot of people are inbox challenged, but for years I had drilled into me that calling someone to pitch something was the kiss of death. I did not want to call these people and bother them because I was worried about being perceived as a nag.
Calling Isn’t Cold
My mentor informed me that senior-level executives are too busy to read most of their e-mail, and often it’s pre-screened for them by assistants anyway. She told me that if someone expresses a desire to work with you, you have to assume that she is sincere and take it upon yourself to make the project happen. This means following by phone, often multiple times.
Taking the Plunge
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and one of my resolutions for 2012 is to stop thinking of myself as a nag. I’m giving my partnership offering another shot, and this time I’m trying to boost my self-confidence and then dial.
The first time I did this, I was following up with a C-suite Executive at a Fortune 500 who said she was going to refer me internally weeks ago. She surprised me by answering her phone, and saying she was glad I called to remind her. She promised to push the idea through, and guess what, it worked.
A New Perspective
I’m beginning to see that the key to sales is to offer a product or service you genuinely believe in and that meets a critical customer need, and then seeing it as your duty to inform the customer about your solution. Be as persistent as you have to be, and just keep telling yourself: you are not a nag – they want to hear from you!