Not So Fast!

by Doug Weaver on July 30, 2014 at 8:56AM

You there!  Yes, you!  DropNot so fast the mouse and back slowly away from the keyboard…hands where I can see ‘em.

Sure, sure…I’ve heard it all before.  You were just going about your business getting ready for one of those “sales calls” that your boss likes so much.  You finally wore down that 29-year-old Media Sup to the point where she agreed to “get the team together” for a sit-down next week.  And now you’re making sure you’re armed to the teeth and ready for battle.  You’re pasting the customer’s logo onto the front of a hefty PowerPoint that has it all:   company intro….partner logos….all your products….case studies….even the obligatory Questions? slide at the end.  You’re even packing up a few gifts to make them all feel engaged and included:  a little swag to grease the skids.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Adroit Digital.  Adroit Digital unlocks the combined power of unique data, media and technology to deliver intelligent performance.  Our programmatic experts leverage our proprietary dataset and media-buying savvy to create results driven programs for modern marketers. Adroit Digital’s experts help agencies and brands craft solutions to the challenges facing today’s multi-channel advertisers.

But I just can’t let you go through with it.  I’ve seen this movie and I know how it ends.  It’s Fatal Attraction and you’re Glenn Close; it’s Thelma and Louise and you’re both of them.  In the name of all that’s holy, stop now and start over again!

Too many of our sales calls end up with both parties simply falling into their assigned roles.  Both the seller and buyer know they have to have a certain number of meetings, and they end up in the business equivalent of a bad blind date.  You share the same space, make polite but disinterested conversation, and part with some vague talk of keeping in touch or sending something.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

What is the meeting going to be about?  If you haven’t proactively identified a business or marketing problem and centered your entire meeting on it, then you’re simply another rep doing another “catch up” call who’s hoping for some of their money.

What exactly to you want to happen?  Write out the words of your closing “ask” before you walk in.  If you don’t know what you want to happen, you’re certainly not going to get it.  The right people might not even be in the room to give it to you.  Any answers that include words like update, education or evangelism are just too soft and meaningless.

What are you telling them that they don’t already know?  If you’re armed only with the information that the buyers themselves have given you, then you end up being another rep who’s describing their own product, rather than one who’s prepared to make something new happen.

Do you really need that PowerPoint?  People really looked forward to seeing PowerPoint decks….in 1995.  If you’re seeking a real, genuine conversation, then a piece of paper with some observations about the account is a better bet.

How will you use the first 90 seconds of your time together?  Sales calls have something in common with fistfights.  How they begin goes a long way in determining how they will end.  Hyper-awareness and presence right at the outset can change the entire character of a call.

If your sales calls are feeling less than fulfilling, look hard at your own approach.  You just may be sleepwalking into mediocrity.  You deserve better.

Stop Checking In.

by Doug Weaver on July 22, 2014 at 2:12AM

Stop Checking inIf you read only the headline over this post, you might think I’m working to stamp out those ubiquitous “I’m at gate 71 at SFO!” social media updates.  OK, yes, I’d like to have that result too, but that’s not today’s topic.  Today I’m addressing something much closer to the heart and soul of sales:  the “pointless contact.”

Here’s how it goes:  You’ve submitted something to a potential customer (an RFP response, a proposal) or are just trying to get them to pay attention to you.  Perhaps your boss asked you about the status of the account; perhaps you got a reminder; or maybe you just woke up in a cold sweat about making your number this month.  You don’t think, you just start typing.  And then, tragically, you hit send.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Adroit Digital.  Adroit Digital unlocks the combined power of unique data, media and technology to deliver intelligent performance.  Our programmatic experts leverage our proprietary dataset and media-buying savvy to create results driven programs for modern marketers. Adroit Digital’s experts help agencies and brands craft solutions to the challenges facing today’s multi-channel advertisers.

And, just like that, you’ve made a pointless contact.  The phenomenon was nicely spelled out in a recent slideshow on LinkedIn.  But every seller – and every buyer – recognizes the script.  “Hey…it’s me…how are you?  Just checking in to make sure you got my proposal….”  It’s a tough habit to break, but nothing could be more destructive to the rep’s reputation and perceived value than “I’m just checking in.”  Translated to English, it means “I got nothing.”  Worse, you start to sound like that insecure, clingy relationship stalker: “Just wanted to make sure you didn’t lose my phone number.”  What to do instead?  In my workshops, I always encourage sellers to break the cycle.

  • Establish a deadline when you make your proposal.  “I’ll call you on the 23rd and then once a week until we have clarity on whether you’re buying from us.”  This approach assumes a level of professionalism, respect and mutual commitment.  And the reason your writing or calling is because it’s what you said you were going to do.
  • Invite the No.  Read your tone of your past emails carefully.  You’re not asking for an answer:  you’re most likely asking for a meeting or an extended conversation that keeps your feeble hopes alive.  I’m a big fan of saying “If we’re not in your plans, I’d be glad to know, because I’ve got other customers to pursue.”  Or better yet, “If I hear nothing by the end of this week I’ll assume we are not getting the business and take you out of our projections.”   This sounds dangerous, but you only risk knowing the truth sooner.
  • Include a Surprise.  Include something of value for the customer.  A bit of relevant news, an article you found, insights on one of their competitors…just about anything.  You become the rep who always sends along something valuable…not the one who’s wasting my time “checking in.”


by Doug Weaver on July 16, 2014 at 12:25PM

CrossdressingI just read about Walmart launching its own digital marketing platform, effectively becoming sort of a media buyer (and sort of an agency), leveraging a treasure trove of sales and behavioral data on behalf of its suppliers.  According to AdExchanger, through the new Walmart Exchange (WMX) the company is “harnessing purchase, loyalty and other unspecified third party data assets to help suppliers spend their media dollars.”

Maybe it’s because I’ve been around media and advertising for so many years – or perhaps because I binged on MadMen recently – but it feels like the marketing world is getting curiouser and curiouser, and that the basic notions of identity and structure in the advertising world are falling away.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

Let’s take a look at how things are shaping up.

  • Traditional “publishers” like Conde Nast, Hearst and others are increasingly offering creative services to marketers, edging themselves into traditional turf of creative agencies.
  • Agency holding companies are using their trading desks to pre-buy inventory and audiences and then holding that inventory – often briefly – for the future distribution of client ads.  In one sense of the term, they are becoming ad networks.
  • Marketers are getting into bed directly with publishers through native advertising executions.  When they’re not, they’re pursuing more of a direct content creation role through branded entertainment efforts.  Either way, they’re in the media business.
  • Xaxis, WPPs erstwhile trading desk, has morphed into more of an ad technology powerhouse, folding in the former publisher-side technologies (ad serving, etc.) of 24/7 Real Media.  So now they serve both the buyer and seller side of the markets.  Along the same lines, Rubicon Project once existed primarily as a sell-side platform (SSP) but now also offers some buyer-side tools and capabilities.
  • Walmart and Amazon are both retailers who opened their considerable online presences to advertising distribution.  Amazon the retailer is also Amazon the device company; Apple the device company became (through iTunes and terrestrial stores) Apple the retailer.
  • Any online publisher can now work with third parties to tag and find its site visitors when they are on other sites around the web, and/or find look alike customers.  By doing so, they can extend and fulfill ad buys beyond their own site borders.  So they are now media aggregators, something that agencies (and more recently, ad networks) used to do.

I could go on, but you probably get the picture by this point.  So who loses in this asymmetrical hall of mirrors?  Command and control based companies and channels.  In the past, they’ve clung to defined roles and control of access – to inventory, to audiences, to distribution of goods and content, to talent.  I think many of them will start to look very old and tired very quickly.

Who wins?  The nimble, the creative, the right-brain thinkers who solve problems and make order out of chaos.  Someday the generation that remembers a gentler, more stable time in the ad business – a time when agencies were agencies and media was media – will move on and institutional memory of role definition will fade.  There will be no us and them.  Only opportunity.

Maybe that day is already here?

Watch TV.

by Doug Weaver on July 9, 2014 at 9:45AM

Watch TVOne of the most compelling things I’ve read lately is “TV’s Untapped Potential as a Digital Business,” David Cooperstein’s recent post on  While he makes some really insightful recommendations about TV’s need for digital innovation – updating the ratings currency, speeding decision and switching times and integrating more easily with the ‘rest of the industry’ – Cooperstein ultimately serves us best by laying waste to the anachronistic notion of some kind digital victory over the dark forces of TV.  “..You have to add up a lot of digital pieces to begin to approach the size of the TV ecosystem today, and TV keeps growing,” he points out, adding that TV moves a lot of money and attention “…at far greater scale, and with a lot less effort.”

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

To some, this may sound like a recipe for inertia and another decade of running out the clock on a TV-buying model that serves agencies and broadcasters pretty well.  But I think the real story is far more complex, challenging and interesting.  I don’t consider myself an expert, but based on all I’m seeing and hearing, the next five years should see a virtual renaissance in the TV/Video ecosystem.  But in order to see it all clearly and fully participate, it’s important to reconsider a few big ideas.

  • Broadcast and Cable TV can become more digital without walking away from their core economics.  Look for the kind of innovations Cooperstein notes in the article to help update TV’s economic infrastructure.
  • Addressability and data-driven buying are crossing the line.  Set top box data from cable MSOs and satellite companies is already starting to be used to drive addressable and enhanced TV buys.  If you’re wondering why AT&T bought DirecTV, the answer is in here.
  • TV is not one business, but several.  Those in the digital trenches love to ball up our fists and talk about “TV,” but what exactly are we talking about?  National broadcast? Syndication? Local?  Basic Cable?  “TV” is like Yugoslavia:  an artificial patchwork of different tribes and beliefs.  Just add many more layers of new complexity and scores of new players to the business.
  • Video is bigger than TV.  The desire for professional video content is bottomless.  And it’s going to be enough to support a lot of niche content and distribution businesses.  There will always be consolidation of power and dollars (the next Viacom, Google and NBC will probably be Viacom, Google and NBC) but innovation and riches have always grown in the margins.
  • Scarcity vs. Abundance is the real fulcrum.  I’ve always thought that what truly separated “TV” and “digital” was the portion of supply that could be controlled.  So far, broadcasters and agencies have done a good job of using scarcity and control to keep a profitable model thriving.  We’ll see how it goes from here.

It’s still early.  And man is it going to get interesting.

Beach Blanket Bibliography.

by Doug Weaver on July 2, 2014 at 11:42AM

Beach Blanket BibliographyWe’re hurtling toward the Independence Day weekend and the beaches and lakes and country porches are calling.  Maybe you’d feel guilty spending a couple of days on some Dean Koontz thriller but are intimidated by something like “Capital in the 21st Century.”   Or perhaps you’d just like to take a fresh look at your strategy and approach, and come back from your summer break with fresh momentum.  With that in mind, here are a few previously recommended sales and management books to toss in your bag as you head out for the long weekend.

Anyone who’s been in a workshop with me in recent years will be familiar with “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation.” For my money, this is the best sales book of the past 15 years, and particularly relevant for the asymmetrical, dynamic world of online marketing.  An efficient and engaging read over its first 100 pages, “The Challenger Sale” exposes the failings of “solution selling” and butchers many of the sacred cows of sales theory.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

While not technically a sales book, “A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future” just may be the most important thing a digital seller reads this summer.  We’re all drowning in statistics and throwing data at one another with savage regularity:  but where’s the meaning?  It turns out that – just like Dorothy – we had the power all along.  By tapping into your inner artist, you learn to synthesize, fuse ideas, interpret and make the numbers start to sing.  And you can finally show your Dad that the painting class you took senior year wasn’t a waste of tuition after all.

I never miss a chance to recommend “The One Thing You Need to Know” by Marcus Buckingham.  A sharp and engaging business writer, Buckingham distills the most important things we each need to know about Leadership, Management (quite different from Leadership, thank you) and sustained personal success.   One of the very best, and a perennial read for me.

Engaged Leadership by Clint Swindall.  Great follow up read to “The One Thing…”  Written as a series of parables, it gives the sales manager some good tactical guidance on cultivating employee engagement, which is the soil in which success and excellence grow.

The Go-Giver  by Bob Burg and John David Mann is told as a dialogue-intensive ‘fable,’ and will take you all of about two hours to finish. But the sales – and life — wisdom is so significant that you’ll want to read it again immediately.  What happens when you base your personal strategy on generosity instead of the zero-sum thinking that drives most sales behavior.

Have a recommendation or two of your own?  Please add them in comments.  Happy summer.

The Voice in the Seller’s Head.

by Doug Weaver on June 26, 2014 at 9:07AM

The Voices in Your Seller's HeadEarlier this week at The Seller Forum in New York, I shared some themes I’d gathered from the 200-plus individual sales rep phone calls I take each year in preparation for Upstream sales workshops.  I’ll end up talking with 4-5 sales reps and line managers prior to each training program, and often these calls move quickly from the nuts and bolts of the sale into the hopes and fears of the seller.  If you’re looking at midyear reviews with your sellers, or if you’re considering how best to motivate and engage them for the balance of 2014 and beyond, here are four of the topics we discussed:

Your sellers aren’t just missing a full understanding of the agency business; they don’t even know they need one.  Very consistent issue.  An entire generation of digital sellers have only seen the transactional, planning end of digital agencies.  The web of other agencies, or even other disciplines and power centers in the shops they call on, are largely invisible to them.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

Amid all the technical minutiae and process details, selling has gotten lost.  This theme may seem surprising, but it’s been hiding in plain sight for most of us.  Digital sales is so “sophisticated” that many reps come to believe that the job is about relaying complex information between management and customer.  Persuasion, closing, challenging and changing the outcome are a second language they haven’t studied yet.

Your comp plan isn’t motivating anybody.  Most compensation plans are at once too simplistic and too complex.  Other than generally feeling like they want to make more money (who doesn’t?) reps have a hard time really connecting behaviors – things they can control — with the mechanics of the comp plan.  So your company too often ends up giving windfall jackpots to sellers who end up with a situationally great account, while your best fundamental performers are being taught they should probably think about leaving you after a great year, before they’re penalized for it in next year’s plan.

If you’re not talking to them, the voices in their heads take over.  Given the pace we all manage, many digital sales leaders and managers only connect with their sellers in group environments and/or to discuss specific deals and numbers.  What’s been lost – or perhaps never even took root in our business – is the subjective, open conversation.  They may not be inclined to tell you how they’re feeling about their jobs or the path of their careers, but that just might be because you never ask.  And when you’re not talking to them about the state of the company or the future of the space, they imagine all kinds of dark, scary things.

There are, of course, no universal truths, and there are many sales groups and reps for whom none of these themes may apply.  But the very best sales leaders and managers are those whose empathy for their team members is seasoned with just a little paranoia.  If you think you know how they see the world, you owe it to yourself to think again.

Programmatic: All Grown Up Now?

by Doug Weaver on June 18, 2014 at 10:21AM

Programmatic All Grown Up NowIf it’s all the same to you, I suggest we agree to write off the first five years of the programmatic era.   I mean, let’s face it:  these first few years haven’t been all that flattering.  It’s been a half-decade of adolescent excess, exaggerated fame, reckless experimentation and more than a little danger.  Who knew the B in RTB stood for “Bieber?”

Before all my Prog friends start hating, let me say what I’ve said all along:  Programmatic is not a phase and it’s not optional; it’s absolutely a hard trend that will reshape the entire business of marketing.  That it’s so fundamental and serious is all the more reason we’ll look back on these early years the way we look back at 80s haircuts and the contents of our old mixtapes.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

When Programmatic first came on the scene, we went through a period of wild, unmitigated excitement… even though most of us couldn’t fully understand what we were so excited about.  All we knew was that anybody who could spell “RTB” got a spot on the LUMAscape and a pot of gold at the end of the journey. Call this period “RTBieberFever.”

After elation there is always backlash.  And so there was.   The technology and business was harder than we’d been led to believe, the revenues more sluggish and unpredictable.  We all learned to say “Programmatic is about more than RTB” but most of us weren’t really sure what to say next….beyond blurting out song titles like “private exchange” and “programmatic direct.”

Finally, of course, there was trouble with the law.  The exchanges became our own version of Dade County, filled with non-viewable and fraudulent impressions and – no doubt –sketchy guys on broadband houseboats jobbing the system.  Suddenly Programmatic was on trial in the media.

But I’m happy to say the story has a happy, if decidedly more boring, ending.  While technically complex, Programmatic was always a very simple idea at heart:  If you just agree that (1) two terminals will ultimately make an electronic trade of inventory for dollars and that (2) the decision to buy (and/or which creative to place) will be influenced by first or third party data, then congratulations…you’ve just defined Programmatic.  Everything else was about specific strategies, tactics and channels.  And that’s where the grownups come in.

Last week’s announcement that Group M will no longer buy on open exchanges — choosing instead to pursue private exchange relationships with publishers – is just the latest sign that Programmatic is settling in and becoming part of the background music.  In the three to five years ahead, I predict that Programmatic specialists on both sides of the table will fade away; that more than 90% of all online ad transactions will be executed programmatically;  that programmatic trading and buying will become vastly de-centralized; and that the word Programmatic itself will fall out of use.

It won’t be as exciting as RTBieberFever, but it will end up being a whole lot more important.

Can’t Feel It? Can’t Sell It.

by Doug Weaver on June 12, 2014 at 7:10AM

Can't Feel ItOriginally posted in June 2010, some thoughts on the power of empathy in our sales relationships.

During the strategic media sales workshops I often conduct, we always start with a core foundational principle:  Aristotle’s model of persuasion.  To completely over-simplify the idea, Ari believed that three qualities had to be present — and flow in a specific sequence — in order for one human being to persuade another of anything important.  They are Ethos (the sense of empathy and understanding), Pathos (the sense of shared struggle or collaborative journey) and Logos (supporting logic or facts).  Get them out of sequence — say, start with the numbers or logic — and you fail to persuade.  Good stuff, yeah?

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

Today I want to spend a minute on the first quality of persuasion:  empathy.  It’s occurred to me as we’ve explored this concept over years of workshops that many sales people see it as a tactic.  How can I demonstrate just enough empathy to get them on my side?  To get them to open up to being persuaded? When I sensed question in the air during a recent group session, the answer just seemed jump out all by itself:

Don’t struggle to demonstrate empathy:  Actually empathize.  The easiest way to look like you care is to actually care.

How many of us when we go into a sales situation can honestly say we’re really out to improve the customer’s business?  That we’re out to do right by them?  How often do we set out to truly make a difference?  By my count, only the really great ones do this.   And many more of us need to.  So the  sales message of today’s Drift post is a pretty simple one:

Stop worrying about making the plan.  Obsess instead about making a difference.   Because if you make a difference, you’ll not only make the plan… you’ll be the plan.

Six Questions: Gian Fulgoni

by Doug Weaver on June 4, 2014 at 9:42PM

Six Questions Gian FulgoniGian Fulgoni, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of comScore, has spent 40 years measuring and analyzing the use of digital devices and the consumption of digital content.  He’ll be our featured keynote interview at The Upstream Seller Forum on June 24th in New York.  This is an edited email interview;  for the complete, unedited transcript, go here.

1. For better or worse, ComScore has been closely identified over the past 20 years with the measurement and verification of web traffic and audiences.   As the herd moves to mobile devices and addressable TV, how much does that challenge your position?

Slightly more than 50% of consumer time online today is spent using a smartphone or tablet. Interestingly, however, there’s no evidence that time spent on desktops has declined — just its share of time. It’s not a zero sum game. It’s now clear that the more Internet-enabled devices someone has, the more time they spend online.

Beyond just digital, we are also now able to measure across traditional media platforms, including TV and radio…something that ESPN first asked us to solve more than two years ago. The system is now in the process of being syndicated beyond ESPN and we have high hopes for its potential.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

2. I’ve heard it said that your VCE tools (and Nielsen’s competitive OCR standard) are leading us toward a multi-device GRP.  That’s too simplistic, isn’t it?

comScore is intent on providing multi-device GRP measurement. In fact, we do that today…But there’s another dimension to the GRP that I think is critical and which we also provide. One can’t just measure the audience for each device in a silo. One needs to know the unduplicated audience across every combination of devices at the content level. And build this knowledge into the GRP metric.

3.  ComScore lit up the IAB Annual meeting a couple of years ago with a call to arms about viewability.  What’s improved since then, if anything?

(Because early) viewability metrics focused on the media buyers, it initially put media sellers at a disadvantage in negotiations…So we responded to the need from the sell-side for viewability tools to assist in optimizing inventory (which) has helped re-establish a basis on which buyers and sellers can both derive the benefits of optimizing around viewable inventory…Today, I think that viewability is on its way to becoming accepted as a key metric that can help put digital on an equal footing with TV.

4. Programmatic, exchange-based ad trading has been with us for close to five years now.  Are you impressed yet?

I’m very impressed by the ability of programmatic to lower transaction cost…but it also comes with some of its own challenges…(A) big issue with the exchanges…is the prevalence of non-human traffic . We’ve seen the in-view rates for ad impressions be much lower on the exchanges than on the premium sites, with a large proportion of that being caused by ads being delivered to bots not people. The answer there might be for the buyers on the exchanges to insist on minimum viewability rates.

5. The biggest existential threat to a healthy digital ad ecosystem is….what?

I think the actions of legislators could have an unanticipated collateral chill on the industry. 

6. Tell us something that brings perspective and clarity to this crazy, seat-of-the-pants digital media world.

Ted McConnell at P&G once said: “We need to understand the truths that transcend change.” I think that’s a great point in today’s dynamic digital media world. When all is said and done, we’re still trying to communicate with consumers so as to build and enhance brands. Yes, digital provides us with many new media capabilities, but in addition I think we need to remember the marketing lessons of yesteryear that still apply today.

To reserve one of the final spots at The Seller Forum, contact us today.

One More Time.

by Doug Weaver on May 29, 2014 at 9:21AM

Persistence Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.I recently asked an advertiser how he decided whether to take a call with an unknown, untested vendor.  “First,” he said matter-of-factly, “I ignore the first couple of calls and then see if they’ll call a third time.  That way I weed out those who don’t care enough to persist.”

I hope this simple idea becomes a talking point in the weekly sales meeting of everyone who’s reading this post.  Because sales people in our business, by and large, do not persist.   As a breed, we’re a lot of things – smart, well-spoken, charming, polite; but persistent we are not.  In pursuing a reluctant or reclusive customer we push right up to the point we might be thought of as pushy;  we risk everything but the inherent comfort of the situation.  “But I’ve sent them three emails and called them twice,” a seller might lament.  “I don’t just want to be annoying.”  And there it is, in a nutshell.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

In his well-known sales and leadership volume, “212: The Extra Degree,” Sam Parker rightly points out that absolutely nothing happens at 211 degrees.  But add just one more degree of heat and water boils.  It’s a handy metaphor for persistence.  How many of us stop pursuing customers or answers just before we would have been successful?   I’m sure this is a universal sales issue but I think it’s a particular problem in our industry because we start with a base of general ambivalence about the sales process.  (Ask ten digital media or technology sellers what they do for a living and eight will come up with answers that studiously avoid the words ‘sales’ or ‘selling.’)  But I digress.  If you’re a manager and want to help your sellers toward greater persistence, here’s a cheat-sheet:

  • Track the calls.  Most sellers don’t actually even know how many times they’ve called or emailed a customer because they don’t keep a count.  Because they’ve worried about it, they think they’ve done it.  Awareness of actual numbers helps.
  • Set a benchmark.  There’s no science to this, but the median number of calls to successful contact seems to be seven.  Setting that expectation up front establishes a process in the mind of seller.
  • Plan a campaign.  Look at the channels and content of the pursuit.  Is your seller saying the same thing through the same channel every time?  Probably.  What’s the appropriate mix of email, planned voice mails, LinkedIn in-mail messages and non-traditional approaches?   It’s worth some discussion.
  • Start at Respect.   If your seller has done, or is prepared to do, good work for this customer, then persistence is the ultimate sign of respect.  And if you’re respecting the customer by persisting, then you can rightly expect the respect of a reply and engagement in return.

Try being persistent.  And then try it again.