This week Peter and the gang traveled to beautiful Cleveland Ohio and played football in the Browns stadium. The group date divided into two teams playing for time with Peter. There was one girl who didn’t participate in the game, who drew negative attention from the rest of the girls. (I’d be mad too if I we’re competing for a project and a competitor who wasn’t following the rules was still being given an opportunity.) But it’s not the competitor, or client I should have been mad at… It would have been my fault for following a rule or system that ultimately didn’t enable me to standout and bring the best for the client. For the record, I’ve been the main actor in that movie more than a few times.. The lesson here, don’t follow “the rules” if you can be a more meaningful resource for the client.

 Some examples of breaking rules for a good cause:

  • Propose adding or removing topics in a prospect’s agenda that maximizes the benefits you bring. This can be tough, but is critical to making sure your prospect has the best chance of achieving their vision.
  • Require data in advance prior to presenting information. Wasting prospects’ time talking about your capabilities and best practices is meaningless. Focusing on your prospects’ buying dominant motives, and pain points are critical to advancing the sales cycle.
  • Focus on bringing information that helps the client even if they want to “learn more about you.” (They really don’t care about you….)
  • Never leave a meeting without establishing next steps. Make sure the next steps are advantageous for the prospect.

A great presentation doesn’t encourage poor follow up..

A great presentation and great customer feedback doesn’t overcome unimaginative follow up. Never leave a meeting without knowing your next 3-5 follow ups. If you don’t know what follow up would be most valuable to the client, I promise you the customer isn’t moving forward with you. Why? Because you haven’t established what matters most to them and how you can help them achieve their vision.

Shiann scored 4 touchdowns during the football game and felt like she deserved time with Peter. When the time came to claim Peter she sat back and allowed Victoria to take action. Victoria jumped on it and never looked back. This was especially annoying for the women who were bruised from the football game. But who’s fault is that? I credit Victoria for taking action knowing she’d be disliked. She overcame her fears, took action, and was rewarded for it. In reality, Shiann and the rest of the group invited Victoria to steal Peter because they hadn’t taken action.

Prospects can be a lot like Peter, averse to making a decision, and constantly second guessing every move they make. It’s critical that you help you the prospect fully understand the magnitude of their problem, what happens if they continue to tolerate their problem, what that cost might be, and what life can be like when you help them overcome these challenges. Brandon Redlinger does an amazing job showing 4 ways to be valuable in your follow up.

 Here are four ways to creatively follow up:

  • Reemphasize business value. It’s all about what you can do for the prospect. Find a way to show them value. Talk to their pain points.
  • Offer insights. Again, make it about them and their benefits. It could be sharing a different way to approach their problems or a novel idea for how they can reach goals.
  • Educate. Don’t pitch in your follow ups. Instead, offer a piece of valuable content, whether it’s a whitepaper, ebook, webinar recording, case study, etc.
  • Share news. Why do you think social media is so addictive? One reason is that people want to stay up on news. They don’t want to miss out on anything. Follow up with prospects by sending them relevant industry news, product updates, or competitive announcements.

In sales we could have a great meeting or so we thought, and when it became time to follow up it was like the customer disappeared into the Witness Protection Program. You followed up, but never heard back from them again. There are books upon books teaching about how and why this happens. Private message me if you’d like book recommendations. I read religiously and have found amazing books speaking to every process within the sales cycle.

For this article I’d like to propose 1 creative follow up you most likely haven’t considered… Branded Merchandise. What benefits would you realize with branded merch that are not available anywhere else? I’m glad you asked!

Positive Reciprocity (Following up with branded merch leverages one of the 6 most powerful principles of influence; positive reciprocity, without giving a bribery feel.)

Staying Power (How long your prospect keeps your Branded Merch) on average is 11.58 months! That’s a lot of follow up, and brand visibility.

Impressions (How many times your story, message, call to action is reinforced to your prospect and their community) average about 2,325 per promotional item! That’s a lot of reminders of who you are, and how you make a difference.

Preferred by Prospects (When compared to any other form of marketing & sales tools, prospects reported almost 2.5X more likely to have a positive opinion of the sales person)

Word Of Mouth Boost (Promotional items manufacturer endorsed peer to peer conversations) Less than 30% of buyers will go out of their way to share their experience with you. Leveraging branded merch creates 1000’s of opportunities for peers to ask your prospect about your brand.

Are you looking for a new creative way to follow up with high quality prospects, but not sure which branded merch concepts would engage your prospects? Let’s schedule a 30 minute brainstorming session, and we’ll have a list of ideas, and free samples coming your way.