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What My Water Heater Taught Me About Sales

Linda - Friday, September 23, 2016

woman in cold water

I hate cold water – no, I *loathe* cold water.  To be quite honest, I’m not even crazy about lukewarm water.  I donated a lot of money rather than participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge. So when our hot water ran out one day, I was extremely motivated to get the water heater up and running again.

Tired after getting home late one night, I was in no mood to be greeted with the icy water spewing out of the faucet.  Since my husband was out of town, I trudged down to the basement to assess the situation.  The pilot light was out on the water heater.  OK, how hard could relighting it be?

The instructions for lighting seemed simple, but excessive.  Turn and hold the knob in while pressing the ignitor button once a second for up to 90 times. If the pilot doesn’t light, wait 10 minutes and start again.  Repeat up to 5 times.

Click the ignitor 90 times????  Repeat up to 5 times???? Ridiculous! To me it seemed that if clicking the ignitor 90 times was not going to convince the pilot to light, then the other 4 times were a waste of time.

I clicked 90 times.  Nothing happened.  I called a family friend who is a plumber to see if the instructions were missing a crucial step.  Nope. I clicked another 90 times.  Nada. Very disheartened, I thought the instructions had to be wrong. I couldn’t believe it could be this difficult to light a water heater.  After envisioning the horrors of taking a cold shower for 10 minutes I decided to start clicking again. Silence. Sigh.

Since I really didn’t have anything to lose, I waited another 10 minutes for Round 4.  Click one, two, three , four, five, six, then suddenly I hear the familiar whoosh of the gas catching.  Success!

As I waited for the water in the tank to heat up, it occurred to me that my water heater and sales have a lot in common.  The current wisdom is that it takes 8-12 touches before a prospect decides to buy.  Seems excessive, right? Most sales people stop after just 2 or 3 times.  But I had thought that 5 rounds of clicking 90 times to light the pilot was too much. Clearly I thought wrong.

So maybe I will brush aside my fear of being a pushy sales person and start reaching out and following up more.  Maybe I’ll believe what I’m hearing instead of thinking that my efforts are a waste of time.  And maybe my sales will increase.

How many times do you follow up with your prospects? Do you think that following up more would help? If you don’t follow up the recommended number of times, what’s stopping you?

I’d love to hear about your experiences.  Let’s learn from each other!

 

If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough to say to prospects that many times, sending them useful information is a good reason to reach them without being “salesy”.  Download our free eBook “Content Marketing: Make An Impression” to see how easy it is to create relevant content so your prospect will be happy to hear from you!

Content Marketing eBook

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