For a sales professional, it is frustrating when a promising sales prospect suddenly goes cold. He may stop responding to emails or refuse to pick up the phone. By planning your response to this situation in advance, you can avoid wasting valuable time or losing the potential sale.
In most sales situations, the burden of communication falls to the salesperson. If you do not get a response to a single email, do not assume that all is lost. Continue to reach out to the sales prospect, keeping in mind their sales cycle and the level of urgency. Personalize each sales communication to highlight your understanding of the prospect's needs. If the anticipated close date was six months out, the potential client may be dealing with more urgent issues. Although persistence is key to closing a sale, it is important not to cross the line into nagging.
After four or five attempts to reach the sales prospect, or if the anticipated close date passes, resist the temptation to continue on the same path. Instead, call the prospect's office number or cell phone. Whether you reach him or leave a message, avoid placing blame. As more time passes, the client may feel more guilty about leaving you hanging, making it more difficult to call. Remove the pressure by apologizing for not being able to connect with him. If you know the purchase deadline has passed, let him know that you assume he has gone a different way and invite him to get in touch with feedback. If the close date is still a few months or weeks out, ask the sales prospect to let you know what is holding him back. This type of non-confrontational response sets a friendly tone and makes it easier for the client to explain where you went wrong. If he had a reason for not getting in touch, like a family emergency, your message will remind him to call you when he is back in the office.
Quiet from a sales prospect often indicates that he has gone a different direction or that he has all of the necessary information. After a certain point in the sales cycle, the prospect is unlikely to continue soliciting quotes. If you have not had success getting a response, the best solution may be to let it go. In doing so, you'll avoid wasting your time or irritating the potential client. This type of efficiency frees you up to focus your attention on more promising prospects without damaging the relationship.
Though it is disquieting when a sales prospect stops responding, it is an unavoidable part of the sales process. By handling quiet prospects with persistence and politeness, you can maintain relationships and keep the door open for future sales.
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