I was talking to a lead this morning, he was someone I initially called based on a referral last year, after meeting it was clear that he was a good lead, likely to be a client at one point in the future, gut instinct early 2011, but you can’t forecast gut, nor does it pay the mortgage. So putting into practice what I preach in an upcoming book “SHIFT – Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers“, I initiated my contact strategy to help me build credibility and move me towards becoming his “emotional favourite”. Part of the process is becoming predictable and reliable, (predictable not in the boring sense, but the “I can count on Shanto” sense.), so when he thinks of sales improvement initiative he thinks of me. This involves a pre-planned campaign of communication involving e-mail, calls and other things like invitations to webinars. As a matter of fact, I will be discussing aspects of this in a webinar next week called “Leveraging Trigger Event Selling™” presented by SalesNexus next Thursday March 4, 2:00 pm eastern. Now executing an effective and impactful campaign is relatively easy in these days of Sales 2.0, but it has never been about the tool, but more about the thought process. Which is why I was amused when my lead ended the call, a good exchange with real take aways, by saying in a very sincere way “thank you for following up”, as though this was a new experience for him, sadly it probably was. He is not the first, I have a lot of people comment on the follow through (or lack thereof) they receive, and the impact that has on me getting their business. Let’s look at two realities in sales; the first is that sales people are always looking ways to differentiate themselves. Second, a consistent knock against sales people is their lack of follow through in general and some specific commitments. So here is a way to tackle both, mark it in your calendar (or create a task), and when it pops up on your screen make the call. Don’t do it after the coffee, or when you get back in the afternoon, or tomorrow when you’re “gonna make your calls anyways”; do it right then when it comes up. Execute your plan, and live up to what you committed to. You don’t need a CRM, Outlook or your BlackBerry works just as well. If you are really stuck, an old fashioned desk calendar and a crayon do just as well. Remember, they get a lot of calls, they get a lot of folks who tell them they’ll call back, some will even specify the time. But what stays with them, what impresses them is the one that actually does what he commits to when he commits to.