Prospecting Fatigue: The True Death of a Salesman

You just spent 30 minutes researching your prospect; calling him and leaving him a voice message, then you sent THE PERFECT EMAIL.

It was so perfect that the prospect has to respond- you talked about what their CEO said in his annual report, you knew a project he was currently working on, and you outlined other customers in his space that you work with.  Well done, Inside Sales Rep, well done.

Wait. What? They didn’t respond? What the heck? They must not need your product. NEXT!


NO! This is totally insane. Your prospect needs to know that you care about winning their business. After a couple of emails and a couple of phone calls from a sales rep, I am not convinced yet that you are serious about working with me. In the last year the ONLY meetings I’ve taken are people who emailed and called me with relevant and thoughtful information until I gave in.

Here are a couple people who have broken through and what they did:

  • Clearslide Rep – Will Elmore – this guy was a sales stud. He called and emailed me at least 20 times, tweeted me, sent me a personalized email, quoted my own blog posts back at me and then the cherry on top – he showed up at an event that I was speaking at. Holy crap (Will, you’ve got an open job waiting for you at ZoomInfo whenever you want it).
  • Sales Consultant – sent me a manila envelope with a book, a handwritten note, and a letter asking to meet with me about a sales engagement. I was impressed, but didn’t write him right away. Then he called and emailed me another 5-6 times. There was no way I could ignore him anymore.
  • Optimizely – I don’t know if this was just a well-crafted Drip Program, but it was certainly timely. I wanted to do something with Optimizely – I thought that they had a powerful platform – the rep called and emailed me until I gave in to a 15 minute meeting.

The point is: you’ve got to do something that makes you stand out from every other Tom, Dick and Harry sales rep that’s calling on your prospects – and you better believe there are a lot. Look at this email inbox for a 2 hour span for an IT Executive.  How are you going to breakthrough that? The answer is: YOU HAVE TO STAND OUT.

Here are some easy ideas to start differentiating yourself:

  • Consult your data intelligence solution so that you know what the person is responsible for, know the current headaches and issues that person is dealing with and make sure your communication talks directly about those things. For me it’s growing revenue, increasing retention, recruiting stars – talk to me about those things and you’re doing better than 90% of the crap in my inbox.
  • Send Direct Mail – if you’re not doing this and you’re in sales, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity.Guess how many emails I get every day? 300 – easy. Guess how many direct mail pieces I get? 3- tops. Which method is going to make you stand out better? Just the fact that you went out of the way to send me something HANDWRITTEN in the MAIL is going to make me more likely to respond to you when you next reach out.

    Want to really win points? You can easily find out that I like to golf – most of the people at ZoomInfo are golfers – I’m sure that your company has branded golf balls – send me one. There’s a good chance I SUCK at golf (I do.)  The best note I ever got on a sleeve of branded balls: “Hey Henry, if you’re anything like me you’re going to lose at least this many on your next round – I’ll call you next week to talk about your outbound lead generation process.” Gold.
  • Hound the SH@! out of me. I am genuinely busy, so most of the time when you email me I’m in between 10 different things and I’m probably just going to delete your email. Call the SH@! out of me – I’m still going to ignore you most of the time, but I see your number on my phone and it makes me think of the email you sent me and it makes me realize you’re making a real effort – do that 10x and make it focused and I’m probably going to respond.

I know what you’re thinking: “People don’t want to be bothered.” “This is overkill.”  “I’m going to piss people off” “Are you nuts?”

Get out of sales then – or find a product that you’re PASSIONATE about selling. When my team is cold calling or emailing or direct mailing they know that our product will change how those prospects’ sell, help them succeed and grow their businesses.

Our folks persevere because they know that these prospects NEED to talk to us – so we’re proud to continue calling and emailing until we get a hold of them. We have a product they need to know about – you should feel that way about your product too.

If someone tells you that you’re pressuring them or pushing them too hard – here’s your response, courtesy of Grant Cardone: “John, you’re confusing my belief and passion in knowing this is the right product for you and your company with pressure. Please don’t misinterpret my enthusiasm for pressure. Now, let’s do this.”

Read It: 8 Great Cold Email Examples for Sales Prospecting

I’ll leave you with another gem for Cardone’s book Sell or be Sold:  “The willingness to stay and persist even when the prospect becomes noisy is what separates the professional, consistent closer from the amateur who randomly closes deals.”

And this – the conscious decision to fight through the prospecting fatigue – is where sales people either make it or a break it.  Choosing to give minimal effort, fall in the middle of the pack, or the lack of persistency while prospecting – is truly where the Death of a Salesman begins.

Don’t get Fatigued – get Creative and stay Persistent.