It’s not uncommon for buying decisions to take several months—or longer—and keeping your name in front of a prospect can increase the likelihood of generating a sale. However, how you approach that objective will influence your prospect’s decision when he or she finally decides to move ahead.

Here are three wrong ways to keep your name in your prospect’s mind (followed by a more effective approach).

“Check-in” call. A common approach is for a salesperson to make a “check-in” call—either by telephone or in a face-to-face visit. The conversation usually goes something like this: “Hey, Mr. Jones, just checking in to see if anything has changed or if you’re ready to discuss that project now.” I could be wrong, but I don’t know many salespeople who close deals with this approach.

Corporate brochure. Salespeople often send corporate brochures and other marketing materials related to their solution. They believe that these materials will give the prospect the information they need to make a buying decision. However, having worked in the corporate world for many years, I can say that most expensive brochures end up in the circular file (aka the trash can).

I’m going to step out on a limb here and suggest that if you use either of these two approaches you’re probably not getting very good results. That’s because you are behaving like most of the salespeople competing for that same prospect’s attention.

Corporate newsletter. Many companies send newsletters to their customers. However, I have found that the newsletter focuses on the selling company and contains information about new products, services or other “stuff” that is largely irrelevant to the prospect’s company or situation. It’s OK to send prospects information like this once in a while. But, if you really want to stand out from your competition, you need to give them information relevant to their individual situations.

Become a valued resource. If you want to differentiate yourself and keep your name in your prospect’s mind, you need to do something different. Take the time to research trends in your prospect’s industry and send your prospect an article outlining the top three trends affecting their industry. Even if your prospect is already aware of these trends, you will catch his or her attention and position yourself as more than a salesperson. You will become a valued resource.

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Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca.