Tom Grandy: Who is more persistent?
You or a squirrel?
Do you have a birdfeeder?
If so, you have likely noticed those persistent squirrels. No matter how many times they are run off, they continue to come back. I have tried numerous suggestions over the years, including several “squirrel-proof” feeders. None of them worked. As my frustration grew, and my patience was disappearing, I visited the feed store one more time, determined to spend whatever it took to rid our feeders of squirrels.
I asked the owner a simple question, “Is there any kind of a birdfeeder that will keep the squirrels away?” Without hesitation, his answer was, “No.” A bit shocked, I asked why? He then went on to tell me that 80% of a squirrel’s waking hours are spent looking for food. They are persistent!
Let’s think about your business for a moment. There are at least three areas within your business where being persistent makes a huge difference.
Some of you may be aware of the story in the Bible about the widow and the unjust judge. The lady’s husband had died and she was asking the unjust judge for legal protection from her opponent. In the days of Israel, women did not have any rights, so the judge said no. Scripture records that she came back the next day, and the next and the next until, and I quote, the judge said, “Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.” Translated, she was bugging him to death!
There is a reason your customers have not paid their bills. It is usually the fact that they have a limited amount of funds, which exceeds the bills they have to pay. Now if you had five bills that were past due, and one of the people you owe money to calls you every day asking when you are going to pay the bill, which one are you going to pay first? Likely the person who calls each day will be first on the list, and not necessarily because it’s your largest bill or even the one that is most past due. Persistence pays off.
If you want to get paid, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!
Every company makes numerous sales calls each week. Hopefully, the customer signed on the bottom line before the sales professional left the home or business. If not, what is your follow-up strategy? Statistically, 80% of sales requires five follow-up calls after the initial meeting. Forty-four percent of sales reps give up after the initial call!
Our sales philosophy is simple. Once an individual or organization has shown an interest in a product or service we offer, we call back, over and over again. Each call ends with a question, “When would be a good time to touch base with you again?” The process is to simply call back until one of two responses is received, either of which is totally acceptable. Either the customer purchases the product or schedules the seminar or they tell us they are not interested. It’s called persistence. Why is persistence important when it comes to sales? Because we are simply never anyone’s number-one priority. The irony of the process we use is telling. More than 90% of the programs we schedule are scheduled when “we” call back. Seldom does the potential client pick up the phone to call us to schedule a program.
When it comes to sales, the same principle of the squeaky wheel applies. Call back until the sale is made or the potential customer tells you they are no longer interested.
Selling your vision
Hopefully your company has a specific vision and/or mission. Do your employees know what it is? Is it part of their thinking? Can they comfortably convey that vision/mission to your customers? If not, it’s YOUR fault. Owners and/or managers must continuously state and restate the vision to those they have responsibility for. It has to become habit. Like receivables and sales, the key is persistence. Tell the story over and over again until it is a normal part of the employees’ presentation.
When a squirrel wants food, they are persistent. Their life literally depends on it. If they are not persistent, well you know the end result. The principle is the same for your business. Persistence pays off. If you are not persistent in asking for the sale, someone else, who is more persistent, is.
Guess who wins?