We've all got a pipeline full of them: prospects who sounded good in the beginning, but now there's no news from them. Are they still interested? Have they found another solution? Was it something we said or is the price too high or have they changed their mind? Who knows – they simply are not responsive. So what should you do?
The first thing you should do is relax. Take a deep breath. Just because they have not gotten back to you does not necessarily mean that they are not interested, nor does it mean they are not going to still be a deal. Some will not, but some still will. It's frustrating, I know, but there are a couple of things to understand and to do so let's take it from the top:
# 1: The first thing you need to remember is that prospects buy according to their schedule – not yours. As a sales rep, I know you want, no, you need the deal today. We all do. But your prospect usually is not under the same urgency as you are to get the deal done. There are many other initiatives, activities, people, processes, etc, they are dealing with and your product or service is just one of many things they have on their plate. So again, do not take it personally, just relax and plan your next move.
# 2: Your next move should be the one you both agreed on during your last conversation. You did make a firm appointment for your next conversation, did not you? This is rule of engagement number one, so if you're not in the habit of doing that, please begin today. If you did make a firm appointment and they missed it, then send a gentle email acknowledging that they must be as busy as you are and you understand. Do not be accusatory, do not assign blame and do not under any circumstance sound hurt or make them feel guilty. Instead, be professional and use something like the following:
Subject Line: Our meeting
So sorry we missed each other today – I know how time can get by us. When you have a moment, please shoot me an email back suggesting some better times later this week or next that would be better for us to connect.
You can either respond to this email or leave me a quick message here (your number).
Looking forward to hearing back,
# 3: Talk to secretaries, assistants or others in their department. If possible, always form a relationship with anyone else answering the phone or working in the same department as your prospect. When you next attempt to reach them, ask that other person what your prospect's schedule is like and what's going on with the department or company. Using this method, I've found out that some of my prospects were traveling for two weeks, or they were at company conferences, or on vacation, etc. Once I learn this, I reference this in my next email attempts to reach them.
The best rule of thumb is to acknowledge what your prospect is going through and to never pressure them. Always let them set the best time / days to reconnect. If you are persistent and respectful in this way, real prospects will always get back with you and let you know.
# 4: If you have been patient in the ways described above and a month or so has gone by and you've still not heard from your prospect, then it is time to use the "Should I Stay or Should I Go" email I 'Ve written about before. Remember, the power of this email is that you are giving your prospect a way out with option number two and this will almost always get them to respond to you. It may not be the response you want, but believe me, if your prospect has found another solution or will not be a deal, it's always better to know it and move on. Here's the email for you in case you missed it:
Subject line is: "Should I stay or should I go?"
"_________ I have not heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:
1) You've already chosen another company for this and if that's the case please let me know so can I stop bothering you,
2) You're still interested but have not had the time to get back to me yet.
3) You've fallen and can not get up and in that case please let me know and I'll call 911 for you …
Please let me know which one it is because I'm starting to worry … Thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing back from you. "
Following these four steps should restore you to sanity in regards to your sales cycle. Remember, closing a sale is a process and you must let it unfold in the way that best suits the buying habits of your prospect or client. Do not be desperate, do not pressure, and do not let your prospect see you sweat. Instead, use the four steps above to deal with the process professionally and confidently. That attitude will come across to your buyer and they will respond accordingly.
Copyright (c) 2012 Mr. Inside Sales