The difference between “Holding”and “Hounding” a prospect

November 14, 2012 by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Leave a reply »
by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Business Development and Sales Coach for Sales Team Coaches and Home Builders Edge  Copyright 2012

The difference between hounding a prospect and holding the interest of a prospect is night and day.  In one scenario prospects want to get away from you and be on their own, in another; prospects want to be with you and hear what you have to say.

I had a recent experience with a sales person when looking for a new car where the initial and only visit involved a fake, vacant sales presentation, where you just wanted to get away from this person.  Then afterward he just kept calling me, over and over not really impressing me with his attempts to follow up.  He ultimately came off as a stalker and ended up annoying me.  Finally he gave up.  I so wanted to coach him and give him the advice I am going to give to you now, in this article.

The mistakes that occurred in this scenario were many and occurred right from the start of his sales presentation. Here are a few… 

  • He came across like a typical bad “Car Sales Person”, you know the one I am talking about, the one you want to walk or run away from.
  • He didn’t build real rapport with me.
  • He didn’t find out my buying goals or motivations he talked only about his product and price.
  • He didn’t discover my hot buttons or my must haves.
  • He didn’t build rapport so I didn’t care about him either.
  • Without rapport, his follow up fell on deaf ears plus and had no traction with me.
  • Even without rapport, his follow up was weak it provided no value to me.  He hounded me instead of offering something up that might perk my interest.

Here are the six fixes I would give him to take him from “Hounding me” to “Holding me.”


Just think about a Sales Person you enjoyed being with in the past and be that. Have a more laid back, approachable personality that people want to be around. You are interested in them, but not in a creepy way.  You want to dive in to their needs and solve them but not too fast. You are careful in your approach.  You ask permission to ask the right questions so you can achieve their goals.  You are respectful of their time and become their solutions guide. Being real, easy going, pleasurable, showing interest, finding commonalities and a bit of humor are all things that help.


Change your presentation around to include asking the critical questions of me upfront to discover my buying motivations and must haves. When you are interested in others, you develop rapport.

Dig deeper to find out the WHY behind my buying goals. Figuring out the WHY of the goals gives you more power in the selling process and with follow up.  For instance, if the WHY behind my need to purchase a new car is because my engine blew up in my old one, then you know this sale could happen today!  THE WHY IS IMPORTANT!


Be my consultant. Help me achieve my goals, providing me attain what I desire. Once you feel like a sales person is working on your behalf, everything in the sale becomes so much easier. Always remember 63% of people buy on trust and rapport and when they feel comfortable with you.


Through LISTENING, I, as your prospect, feel heard. By asking the right questions upfront and LISTENING he would have developed rapport with me.  He also would have heard and learned valuable information about me, that he could have used as intel. As the sales process proceeds forward the LISTENING skill never stops, it only get more valuable as you open up the client and they become more talkative.


Find out my needs and provide solutions to those needs.  When you find out my hot buttons around those needs, it gives you some traction in keeping your prospects interested and providing value in your follow up.


Make sure your follow up is not just phone calls or emails that say the same thing.  “Call me if you are still interested”, is not good enough and over and over comes across as hounding.  Give me a reason to call you back.  Utilize some of your intel that you learned about me, to increase you return call ratio.  For instance, if you discovered I was budget motivated when you spent time with me then leave me a message letting me know about a current sale on the product that interested me.  When you put VALUE in your follow up, you will see immediate results in your return calls.

Selling is simple when you use a human approach and follow these simple techniques.  Don’t waste one more prospect by hounding them.  Turn your presentation around and become the Sales Person everyone wants on their side! By Holding your Prospect vs. Hounding them, you will be holding more money in your wallet!

Happy Selling!


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15 Responses

  1. Cynthia S says:

    Very good stuff…

  2. Mark worley says:

    Great information! This article helped me get refocuses. Thank you, Your Favorite Builder

  3. Glad you enjoyed it…My Favorite Builder!

  4. Thank you cyndi…glad you enjoyed it!

  5. John Little says:

    Excellent Article!
    By focusing our attention on the needs of our prospective buyers, we build trust, ease tension, ensure confidence, and ultimately take away any objections for doing business with us.
    The value in this is not just the immediate gratification of a sale, but rather the “domino” effect of referrals.

  6. John, glad you enjoyed the article…could not agree more.

  7. Great! Hounding vs. Holding I am constantly looking at my sales skills and understood the concept but have never had it explained so well. I have been hounded often and that really does end the conversation quickly. I will keep trying.

  8. Steve says:

    Reminded me of what I am not doing…thank you!!!

  9. Scott Maneri says:

    Good advice Shirleen. Thanks for sharing!

  10. So glad you got something from this article and it makes a difference to you. Applying it will make a difference in your sales!

  11. Always good to get reminders Steve. Happy Selling!

  12. Phil Jawny says:

    Great article, I’m going to forward this to others I know who could use this.

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