How Persistence Pays Off
“Your persistence made this happen” was a comment made in a thank you email that I received from an event sponsor immediately following an event. He worked for a company that manufactured a product that complimented the products sold by the company producing the event. My target list for potential sponsorships included this company. I considered them the perfect target.
In my sponsorship outreach, I prefer to talk with a targeted company before sending them information by mail or email. In this case, the contact person did not take my calls nor did he return my calls. I took the next step and mailed him a box with homemade chocolate chip cookies and a note to enjoy the cookies with a cup of coffee while talking with me about our event and how they would benefit from participating in this event. There was no immediate response to my outreach. So, I sent an email outlining the reason for my outreach.
After several months, he returned my call. He explained that he was ready to talk. We arranged an in-person meeting and they came onboard as a sponsor.
Persistence is Not Negative
If I had made an assumption that no response meant that there was no interest this company may never have come onboard as a sponsor. Had this person simply returned my initial call and explained “something/anything”, I would not have made continuous, hopefully not harassing, attempts to telephone him.
How Persistence Pays Off
After this experience, I thought about a different approach as to how one should respond to messages received from persons seeking their business:
- Set a goal of returning a call within 24 hours. Some people say 48 hours but I find that one can easily forget to return the call after too long of a time.
- Thank the person for thinking of you and if interested continue talking.
- If you are not interested, tell them that this is not a good fit and if anything were to change that you will keep their contact information on-hand and will contact them at that time.
- Most times, they will ask when they should follow-up with you or they might say that they will touch base with you in 6 months. If they are wasting their time to call you, tell them this. I usually end up repeating that I will not hesitate to contact them if the need arises.
- Then when the need arises, do not hesitate to call them. Remember to tell them when they had first contacted you, etc. They will appreciate knowing that their initial outreach paid off and that someone did what they said they were going to do.
You never know, when the tides may turn and you are calling that person on a sales call. Will they respond to you in the same manner that you responded to them? Will they give you the courtesy of a return phone call or will they just not respond?