Jill Konrath


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[Video] Why You Must Be a Visible Irritant When Prospecting


Whenever I do a sales workshop, I get asked, "How often should I contact my prospects?" Salespeople want to know if once a week is too much -- or if they should wait longer before reaching out again. If this is something you're struggling with, here's a fresh perspective for you.


If you're like most sellers, you worry about being a pest. You hate bugging a prospect over-and-over again. But I'm here to tell you something very different today.

It's your responsibility to keep bugging them -- especially if your prospect told you that they're interested and really do want to work with you and then disappear into the black hole. The truth is, they've been sidelined by other priorities. They still want to move ahead, but other more urgent matters have popped up. 

Let me give you an example. I just went to the dentist the other day. They know I want to get my teeth cleaned on a regular basis. But I can think of gazillion other things that take priority over that.

Fortunately, my dentist's office keeps after me. I get a post card about 3 weeks before I'm supposed to go in again. Then they call, but I don't call them back. Then they call again. Now they're emailing me.

I keep putting it off -- even though I know I need to go. Then I get a message that it's past due -- and they're only trying to help me keep my dental health -- like I requested. 

Ultimately, I do what I want to do. But it's only cause they kept after me and focused on why it was important to me.

They didn't just touch base or check to see if anything had change. They just kept reminding me of my priorities. And finally, I set up the meeting.

See what I mean. It's okay to be a visible irritant. It actually helps your prospects.

YOUR TURN: Do you ever feel like a pest when you are prospecting?  How do you overcome that feeling? Share with us!

Why You Must Be a Visible Irritant When Prospecting

Jill KonrathJill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales strategist. As author of two bestselling books, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, she's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh ideas, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.


Very relevant, good stuff...the way to go...
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 7:19 AM by Gints
Persistence is key to closing sales. Some people will be annoyed, but most will be happy to buy from or hire you. You can't please everyone no matter what. 
Thanks for the reminder Jill.
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 7:30 AM by Viktor Nagornyy
One way to avoid being seen as a pest is to ask a prospect when to follow up again. If they say next month I call in 3 weeks if they say next week I reach out again in 5 or 6 days. Let them think they set the schedule by begining the second conversation with you asked me to call again ...
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 7:31 AM by Don Crawford
Thank, Jill 
You always come in the right time with relevant information!
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 7:47 AM by Ev
Sorry, can't say I agree with you. The above scenario only works for grudge purchases. Persistence is an admirable trait, but I would lose respect for you very quickly by the second or third attempt. 
What you depicted is typical behavior of a bar fly trying to wear down the resistance of a lady whose bed he hopes to share. Sorry, no thanks.
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:26 AM by Medical Practice Management
Many times I feel like a pest, one guy told me that he can set his watch by me calling. i guess thats a compliment.
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:34 AM by jacob crudo
Each time you contact a prospect you should have a valid business reason for the call. Sending or emailing them information (prior to the call) about their industry - an article or something that relates to their pain points will go far in establishing a good relationship. 
There's a difference between being a pest and bringing something of value to each call. A pest just keeps making calls. A strategically-savvy salesperson will provide something of value with each call.
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 9:09 AM by Faye Oney
I tell the truth in the follow up emails and I send an email at least once a week. The first solicits their status in consideration of the proposal. the second states that "...I do not want to be a pest or a bother" and that "...I am simply looking for your guidance regarding the next step in our collaboration." 
It is usually this one that solicits a response, often accompanied with an aopology for not responding sooner and insight regarding their position. 
The third (if necessary) advises them that, if their direction has changed it is OK to say "No".  
This almost always solicits a response...sometimes "no" but more often what I need to hear to move forward. 
This strategy allows me to contiune to focus on where I need to focus and that is pursuing active opportunities.
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 9:37 AM by Joe Gater
I just closed a sale with a large national company. The prospect had engaged me after a year of calling last September for a project that was to begin in November. The prospect/customer told me and our owner when we finally met in April that the reason we were there was because I was polite, professional and most of all persistent. It paid off in recurring commissions of over $2K/month.
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 10:05 AM by Bill
Add value with every interaction. Send them content they might be interested in or that supports why they should change. "I thought you might be interested in this..."
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 1:27 PM by Krista Moon
Great message Jill, makes me want to pick up the phone!! Thanks! 
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 1:49 PM by John Schaefer
Jill, this was a great, short video. Very good point.
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 2:23 PM by Ted Pierce
Persistence, politeness, bringing new relevant info prior to the call, value added info & Jilll's phrasing of looking out for the prospects best interest! I appreciate John's comment. Some of my best deals have come along in the same manor. Excellent motivaor to follow up when it feels things have been dragging along forever! Thanks!
Posted @ Thursday, May 03, 2012 3:56 PM by Clay Reed
What makes your dentist effective at follow-up is that she/he is very clear on their own value proposition. They know that what offer is important to your health. So they don't mind calling. Often when sales people fret about following up with a prospect, the reason is they lack confidence in the value they bring. And key contributors to the value proposition is not only the sales team but the product marketing/management organization. If the product marketing folks provide the sales team with a compelling value proposition, then these follow-up calls will be less anxiety provoking and more effective.
Posted @ Sunday, May 06, 2012 9:16 AM by Neil Baron
I finally reconnected with a prospect today on his way out the door for a 3-day holiday. (We had had a face-to-face meeting 3 weeks prior and had expressed interest.) He saw my caller ID and picked up the phone to take the call. The first thing he said was that he apologized for not getting back to me sooner. Other things had higher priorities at that time, as Jill points out above. That was then, this is now. We set a time to meet to move to the next step. Persistence pays. Be patient and have a reason to speak with each ping of the prospect. They will respect you for it.
Posted @ Friday, May 25, 2012 10:45 PM by Barry Zuber
Well, if you actually become a pest. That's a problem, I mean a pest is a pest. But like your dentist, they did not become pests, you agreed with them contacting because you bought into the value of the service. That is what makes the difference.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 31, 2012 6:06 AM by Harry
Jill, I have this one customer who will never speak with me when I call or email! However, I continue to offer relevant info,new pricing, info on our products. It would give you a complex like I'm wasting my time however, just got the truck load order by fax this AM! So Jill you are right, continue to offer pertinent info and folow up,follow up & follow up some more! Thanks!
Posted @ Tuesday, April 09, 2013 7:04 AM by phil
On more than one occassion when I felt I was transitioning into the "pest" zone I the common theme was the project priority was downgraded and the contact person simply stopped responding to messages rather than communicate this via email or phone. A secondary theme is this person is not the primary decision maker and failed to communicate this in eary stages when asked.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 12, 2013 10:11 AM by Jonathan
Hello Jill! I love your post and I could not agree with you more. I believe it is better to contact 10 prospects 10 times than to contact 100 prospects 1 time. Consistent contact enhances relationships and improves rapport. I continue to follow up unless and until a prospect asks me not to. Some of my best leaders and customers today are the result of my consistent and persistent contacts. Best Wishes!
Posted @ Saturday, March 01, 2014 2:21 PM by Stephen Ray Porter
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