Call it what you will. Persistency. Tenacity. Stick to it ness. Very few businesses do it - or do it well.
Yet it pays heaps in the ultimate goal of all businesses - income generation. I have a favourite story about Wayne McCarthy, one of Barfoot and Thompson's top real estate agents.
Wayne had a prospective client from the UK that wanted to purchase a second home in New Zealand. They came two years in a row home hunting (in which Wayne ferried them around showing houses) to no avail. The beginning of year three, they emailed him that they saw a house online, had a friend do a walk through, and bought it - using another agent.
Most people would stop here. Wayne didn't. Every five, six months he would send an email saying something to the effect 'hi, how are you, I don't know when you're in town but if I can ever help you with a carpenter, tradesperson, in any way, please let me know.
Year three passes. Four and then at the beginning of year five - he gets a phone call. Yes. The English couple. They called him in to sell their house as they weren't coming to New Zealand as often as they thought they would. "Why me?" Wayne asked them, "Why not the agent that sold you the house"?
"You were so lovely staying in touch with us all these years, how could we not call you" was their reply.
The reason I'm reciting this story for you is something similar happened to me this month. In my online newsletter I had mentioned my new small group in-house email productivity training.
A request came in from a small company in Sydney. I flew to Sydney this past Monday and worked with them. In the middle of one of the discussions, the person who hired me mentioned where she worked before. All seven people saw my mouth drop open and my look of amazement.
I had spoken at a conference in 2003 and at that time, she went on the newsletter database. Sometime over the past 9 years she also had changed her email address and name when she moved companies. That is why I didn't recognise her.
Do you see my point about tenacity/persistency?
So what are the tools you need to do it well and without much effort or cost?
1. Systems - How did Wayne follow up? How did I do it? We implemented a system and followed through. Mine in this instance is a monthly newsletter. Wayne used his Task function.
2. Task/To Do/ Reminder Function - in my opinion this wee little computer, smartphone function is what takes a salesperson/business from good to utterly spectacular. So few do follow up - or follow up for long periods of time IN AN UNOBTRUSIVE WAY.
3. Valuable content - to them - Wayne didn't email them with a 'boy do I have a house for you', or about open homes. Rather it was a 'is there any way I can be of assistance to you - not even mentioning homes. In my newsletter, I have wonderful computer tips and business ideas. Given away for free. This is what keeps people subscribing and reading the newsletters - even if it's only now and then. Look - my client followed the newsletter for nine years until the time was right! For me it was simply another line in the database and a few cents in cost for the email distribution.
4. Database - Neither Wayne nor I can do what we did without that valuable asset that when used well, is every businesses, every sales personas, every consultants goldmine. Their database of existing and prospective clients.