Tired of constantly following up about the status of potential new deals or partnerships, only to get the brush off? It could be your approach that’s the problem. The first thing to ditch: that tired old “just checking in” email.
Why you shouldn’t check in
On the surface, sending a quick email to check in or ask your prospective buyer, “Where are we at?” may seem like the perfect direct approach. Sure, it’s quick and easy, but when just about anyone peddling anything is using this same tactic, your note becomes one more unopened email in an overflowing inbox.
So how do you stand out and check in without “checking in?”
Offer something of value
No one likes a pushy salesperson, but we all love the person who brings us something we want. Whether it’s help solving a problem, information that can assist us in making a decision or reach our goals, or that perfect opportunity seemingly tailor made for us—a person that understands our needs and consistently brings us value is someone we always want to hear from.
Which means, when it comes to checking in, you should always have a legitimate and valuable reason to be contacting them. Whether you’re emailing or calling, you should be offering a fresh perspective, market observations, or a piece of timely news. Share a blog or article related to a previous discussion, or a map that helps them visualize location details. Even if the purpose really is to assess where you are in a process, supplement that question with a piece of information.
Ask questions and offer insight
Closing that deal begins with getting to know your client and their needs. As you work to build trust and broker a deal, one of the best ways to really understand those needs (and their pressing challenges) is by asking questions.
Ask about a particular project your contact is working on, or a common challenge you know a competitor is dealing with. When you ask relevant questions and offer your resources or insights, you not only gain a greater understanding of their world, you’ll also be demonstrating to them your genuine interest in their success.
Look for a trigger event
If you’re truly interested in doing business, you’ll know their business—both their company’s goals and what’s happening internally. Keep an eye out for changes in staffing, strategy or structure: these instances are not only conversation starters but can also signal an open door. Look for recent promotions and reach out to congratulate them on a well-earned new position. Is their company growing? Have they received additional funding? A new influx of cash can mean projects that were previously put on the backburner now have the potential to get the green light.
Connect in more ways
Sometimes, the reason you’re not hearing back may be that you’re using a tool they’re not into. Some folks hate email, others despise chatting on the phone, others prefer text or social media. If you’ve been emailing them, try getting on the phone. If you’ve been leaving voicemails, try a text.
Here are a few other ways to reach your intended target:
- Do they have a blog? If so, subscribe. See what they’re writing about, engage them about their most recent post or share something you have that might be relevant.
- Are they on social media? Friend, follow, like and engage with them on their chosen platforms by commenting or striking up conversations in private chat or message.
- Is there an upcoming educational or networking event? Bring it to their attention.
- Is your company hosting a webinar that might interest them? Be sure to invite them and let the conversation flow from there.