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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Social media reshaping the marketing landscape

News

Industry Update

SEPA moving forward incrementally

Square evolves but will it prevail?

V.me by Visa the answer or an answer?

Features

Research Rundown

A company built for its agents

Reach out and engage someone

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Longevity, inclusion sought in new AML rules

Risks posed by extra links in prepaid value chain

Views

Money isn't what it used to be

Jeffrey I. Shavitz
Charge Card Systems Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
EMV, are we there yet?

Bill Pirtle
C3ET Credit Card Consortia for Education & Training Inc.

'Tis the season of happy (hacker) days

Rich Running
SecurityMetrics Inc.

Pushing past roadblocks to success

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Game plan 2012

Karin Bellantoni
Blueprint SMS

Getting Level 4 merchants to the PCI doctor

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Discipline and persistence pay off

Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

Company Profile

SignaPay Ltd.

New Products

A virtual call and payment center

IVR Pay-by-Phone gateway
Global eTelecom Inc.

A cloud-based payment remedy for docs

Medical office billing/payment portal
Kareo Inc.

Inspiration

Giving - the scalable solution

Miscellaneous

2012 Calendar of events

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 12, 2011  •  Issue 11:12:01

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Discipline and persistence pay off

By Peggy Bekavac Olson

I was visiting one of my clients recently to discuss a major sales and marketing initiative when a poster in his office caught my attention. It was one of those business posters you often see in corporate environments that are meant to inspire. Interestingly, as we talked about the poster's information and ramifications, it ended up guiding our planning session and has significantly impacted the initiative we are now embarking on together.

The poster's message has important and widespread value and serves as the topic of my marketing article this month. The poster listed a number of interesting sales statistics. Here's a recap:

My client doesn't know the source of the statistics poster. I tried to validate its content by searching the Internet - to no avail. Although I see many posts of similar information attributed to a study by Dartnell Corp. and The McGraw-Hill Cos., as well as a study conducted by the Sales and Marketing Executive Club of Los Angeles, I cannot verify actual study results from these sources.

Repetition, repetition, repetition

While we're not sure of the accuracy of the poster's statistics, the message is clear. Most sales are made only after repeated contact.

However, most salespeople typically give up before sales are ready to be made. While keeping up with prospects is strategically important and imperative to making sales, it unfortunately often doesn't happen.

Following up is the most neglected and misunderstood part of the sales and marketing process. Follow-up comes into play immediately after you make contact with a prospect and requires patience, tenacity and persistence over what can be a lengthy time.

Contrary to misperceptions, following up is not about making the sale; it's all about nurturing relationships and creating credibility to prepare for making the sale at some later point in time.

Overcoming fear and getting disciplined

Salespeople quit following up on sales opportunities for many reasons. Sometimes fear holds them back - fear of rejection, of being too pushy or of being annoying. Sometimes salespeople quit following up because they're just plain lazy.

But the main reason salespeople quit following up on sales opportunities is lack of discipline and persistence.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, discipline is an orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior. Persistence is the quality that allows someone to continue doing or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people. Discipline, in this case, means employing lead-nurturing techniques to build relationships by following up.

Lead nurturing uses an informative dialogue, combined with a specific, defined process on qualified prospects that are not yet ready to buy. The goal is to earn merchants' business when they are ready.

Nurturing a relationship

The discipline of lead nurturing builds a stronger connection with buyers by providing the information they want, need and value, with the appropriate amount of contact at each point in the buying cycle. Lead-nurturing discipline produces stronger sales pipelines, higher close ratios, shorter sales cycles, increased sales amounts, greater sales productivity, and enhanced brand recognition, image and reputation.

For more information on following up using lead-nurturing techniques, see my article entitled, "Leads, leads, leads - Part 3: Lead nurturing," The Green Sheet, April 11, 2011, issue 11:04:01.

The memory of persistence

Persistence is the ability to hang in there after most others have given up. It means sticking to the job until it's done - for example, staying with a qualified lead all the way through the lead-nurturing process until the prospect buys or the opportunity dies. Persistence doesn't mean wasting time with a nonqualified prospect, nor does it mean being a pest.

So be disciplined and persistent. The older a sales lead becomes, the less competition you'll have. Most other salespeople will have given up, while you've been providing value and building trust and credibility.

The longer you hang in there with lead-nurturing activities, the better your chances are of closing the sale. The odds are in favor of a disciplined, persistent sales and marketing effort. So although it's easy to give up, discipline and persistence pay off in the long run.

They pay off big in terms of more sales for those who stick with lead nurturing and follow-up throughout the entire sales and marketing process.

Peggy Bekavac Olson founded Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payment companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or peggyolson@smktg.com. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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