Is there a secret to follow-up? No. Is there a best way to go about follow-up? No.
Why do people quit too soon? Big question. Why do you quit too soon? Bigger question.
Have you ever read “Think and Grow Rich”? Biggest question.
Reason? “Think and Grow Rich” — written by Napoleon Hill 78 years ago — has an entire chapter on persistence that provides real insight as to the characteristics of what makes some stick at it until they win, while others stop either just after they start or just before they are about to taste victory.
Rather than be so presumptuous as to paraphrase the great Napoleon Hill, I am going to give you the exact words of the master (now in the public domain).
Here are some excerpts (and insights) on persistence as they were written seven decades ago — and still applicable in your sales process today:
“Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated. Like all states of mind, persistence is based upon definite causes, among them these:
a. Definiteness of purpose. Knowing what one wants is the first and, perhaps, the most important step toward the development of persistence. A strong motive forces one to surmount many difficulties.
b. Desire. Its is comparatively easy to acquire and to maintain persistence in pursuing the object of intense desire.
c. Self-reliance. Belief in one’s ability to carry out a plan encourages one to follow the plan through with persistence. (Self-reliance can be developed through the principle described in the chapter on autosuggestion.)
d. Definiteness of plans. Organized plans, even though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage persistence.
e. Accurate knowledge. Knowing that one’s plans are sound, based upon experience or observation, encourages persistence; “guessing” instead of “knowing” destroys persistence.
f. Cooperation. Sympathy, understanding, and harmonious cooperation with others tend to develop persistence.
g. Will-power. The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts upon the building of plans for the attainment of a definiteness of purpose leads to persistence.
h. Habit. Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experience upon which it feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage. Everyone who has seen active service in war knows this.
How to Develop Persistence
There are four simple steps which lead to the habit of persistence, They call for no great amount of intelligence, no particular amount of education, and but little time or effort. The necessary steps are:
1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.
2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.
4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.
These four steps are essential for success in all walks of life. The entire purpose of the principles of the (Think and Grow Rich) philosophy is to enable one to take these four steps as a matter of habit.”
Now, I will grant you some people will read this and spit out the word “hokey” at the end. Reason? It’s too simple and does not have an immediate “how to” answer attached to it.
The secret of persistence is not an “answer” — it’s a “realization.” And if you read the above and didn’t “get it,” you will get beat by someone who did.
The Napoleon Hill philosophy of persistence is strong, yet soft. The only omission from the strategy is that it leaves out “what” to persist with. Let me give you that answer in a word: value. Something more than you calling to imply, “I’m calling about the money. Is it ready yet? Can I come over and pick it up now?”
Want a few value ideas? Here are four. You may not like them. They require work.
1. Get your prospect a sales lead or give them a referral.
2. Give your prospect an idea on how to serve his customers better.
3. Give your prospect a list of things he or she can do to improve morale, productivity, absenteeism or profit.
4. Get your prospect some free publicity or social media exposure. Help them win.
Get the idea? See the work? Make your persistence pay dividends for the customer.
Now look past the work to the victory. If you can see clear to victory, then the secret of persistence is yours at last.
And add to that the final wisdom of Hill: “What you need to develop persistence is willpower and desire. In other words, how bad do you want it? And how far are you willing to go to get it? Unless the answer is all the way, you will not persist, you will give up.”
There is now an online course to master the principles of “Think and Grow Rich.” All you have to do is go to jeffreygitomer.com/napoleon-hill-special and register.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 13 books including“The Sales Bible,” “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.”His online courses are available at gitomerlearningacademy.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or gitomercertifiedadvisors.com, or email Jeffrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.