“Be persistent” is the one revenue generation secret most founders misunderstand, and it costs them valuable opportunities. Across the dozens of founders we work with every year, I find that very few of them understand persistence. Your understanding of persistence can make or break your revenue generation efforts.
Keep reading to find out what persistence really looks like, learn how to apply best practices without looking like a pest, and get a few winning tactics that earn dream clients and spur revenue generation.
Every founder is bringing a solution to market. Some solutions are relatively small but effective, while others are big, sweeping, paradigm-shifting solutions. Whatever problem you are solving, you’ll need persistence to be successful.
I’m not talking about getting out of bed every morning with a vision, a good attitude, and a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, persistence is one of the most misunderstood concepts when it comes to founders and their start-ups.
Instead of mistaking motivation and determination for persistence, although they are important elements, let’s take a look at an example with a proven history of sales and revenue success.
Pardon My Persistence
I once helped a startup figure out his ideal customer profile and reach out to his top ten prospect list. After reaching out via email three or four times without a reply, the founder wanted to give up. He reasoned that he didn’t want to “embarrass the brand” by continuing to reach out to someone who clearly wasn’t interested.
I asked him about the value of getting this person to answer with an affirmative. He confirmed this was a high-value prospect, which meant we needed to keep reaching out. Having more experience with prospecting timeframes, I urged him to be politely persistent.
On the tenth email, the prospect replied with an affirmative! He thanked the founder for staying in touch, let him know that he had been on his mind and scheduled a call.
The deal ultimately closed and at double the contract value we had initially applied to the prospect. And all it needed was ten friendly and politely persistent emails.
Here’s what polite persistence looks like.
Personalize the content.
We sent emails from the founder’s email account, avoiding impersonal campaigns from an email platform. By commenting on their latest blog, congratulating them when they won an award, and verbalizing support when we saw their company reach a significant milestone, we tailored each email to that high-value ideal client.
By making the emails about the recipient, we were able to get their attention and avoid turning them off by making it all about the founder’s company or product.
Limit sales talk but keep the invitation open.
Every email reminded the recipient in one sentence of the solution offered and why it’s a great fit for him, letting him know we welcome a call to discuss the benefits in more detail.
By keeping the invitation open but avoiding sales talk, we offered gentle reminders that we’re there for the recipient when they are ready, but we also kept the focus on building a relationship – showing there’s more to the emails than landing a deal.
Be respectful and professional.
You don’t know what is going on in your recipient’s world. So there’s no need to get dramatic and complain to them that you haven’t heard back. That’s the best way to shut them down and embarrass yourself.
Instead, be available and ready to guide them to your solution, focusing on gentle reminders that keep you top-of-mind and top-of-inbox.
Wait for the answer, not the non-answer.
On the tenth email, our subject field said, “pardon my persistence.” In the email, we explained that we hoped the recipient would pardon our persistence as we continued to seek their attention because of the confidence we have in the solution and the significant benefits available to them. As always, it was a short email but effective.
When the recipient finally responded in the affirmative. What if all you needed to do was send one more email to land that ideal client?
Lessons Learned: The Role of Polite Persistence in Revenue Generation
Let’s examine that email process more closely.
- Persistence is sincere. There’s nothing embarrassing about persistence. If you know your solution is exactly what your ideal customer needs, you have a responsibility to continue working on getting it in front of them.
- Persistence is stoic. The founder in the example above was reading into the mind of his email recipient. He was letting his ego get hurt by a non-response instead of realistically seeing himself within the scope of his prospect’s day-to-day life.
- Persistence, by definition, requires patience. Staying top-of-mind, in whatever form, whether through email or other channels, means staying patient and professional.
- Persistence doesn’t mean perpetuity. At some point, the effort to communicate with someone may outweigh the time you could be spending on other, more responsive ideal prospects. Before you give up, send one more communication politely centered on, “pardon my persistence.”
Remember that when you reach out to someone, your message is one tiny moment in a day full of emails, phone calls, meetings, workload, distractions, and their personal life. We don’t know why they didn’t answer. They may be busy. They may not see your email in a cluttered inbox.
No reply isn’t an answer.
Persistence means you continue to reach out until you get an actual answer – meaning a yes, or a no. If you keep your prospect’s priorities in mind and are helpful to them, rather than focusing on your priorities or your product, polite persistence pays off.
Either they’ll reply that they want to chat, or they’ll finally let you know they’re not interested. That’s when you have a data point letting you know whether that person is worth pursuing further.
So, create a rule for yourself right now. You are going to pursue your ideal customers with polite persistence. You’re not going to let polite persistence take a back seat just because you get a non-answer.
Next time you feel like giving up on trying to reach an ideal potential customer, ask yourself whether giving up future revenue generation is worth just one more email.