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February 6, 2017 Ask ACE

Ask ACE: When do I end the chase with prospects?

Q: When do I end the chase with prospects? If I follow up on expressed interest, my emails and calls are not returned. I feel that I'm bugging them — but I know persistence is sometimes rewarded. When is enough really enough?

ACE advises:

  • Make sure you heard clear interest. “Sounds interesting. Please send me some material” is favorable, but you need to go a step further: “Will do – and tell me, how do you see this working in your business?” Get specifics and details personalized to the individual. That's what you'll need to follow up effectively.
  • Clarify that you're dealing with a decision maker, not a committee, a gatekeeper or a subordinate – and that funding will be available.
  • Get the communication preference mode: Email, hard copy or personal contact for your proposal? Using several modes might be acceptable and preferable.
  • Qualify the call to action: “I know you're busy, but this is timely. When do you see moving on the idea, if you like what you see?”
  • Secure permission to follow up on the prospect's schedule, not yours. Refer to personalized benefits based on specifics the person has told you, adding something like, “I want to get this working for you as soon as possible. When would it be best for me to follow up with you? Do you prefer phone, email or a meeting?”

Conclusion: You'll be following up on a foundation, not reaching out into a void.

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