It can be the most frustrating experience in sales.
You did your research.
You had a great sales call with a solid presentation.
And you shook hands with your new client on the premise that you will be doing business together.
And then… (no and then!)
Next, you reach out to your brand new client with a follow up email or call to gather some details about the transaction but all of a sudden you are no longer talking to an excited and bubbly prospect.
In fact, you aren’t talking to anyone at all.
Where did they go?
What the hell happened?
Now before I go into what happened and the signs you should look for when you are essentially closing a deal versus being denied and lied to, I want to talk about your role as a good consumer.
If you are not interested in a product or service, have a better or less expensive opportunity, or simply had a change of heart – please communicate this to your sales representative to give them an opportunity to tell you why or why not you may be misinformed about your fear to commit.
Don’t go M.I.A.
It is not only rude but it will get you a higher price, worse customer service, and someone who is not fighting for you anymore but looking for every way to shortcut more money out of you.
In their subconscious opinion you brought it on yourself.
So if you breakdown communication, you in turn diminish your credibility.
Grow a backbone and say no if you don’t want something – I am sure your sales rep. will prefer that stance instead of the sound of your voicemail message playing on repeat.
Ok so back to you the sales consultant and your new client not responding.
Did you misread the situation?
Did your prospect get cold feet?
First reflect on the meeting and ask yourself these questions:
- Was it clear, or rather; was there any doubt by either party that a deal had transpired?
- Was there excitement at the anticipation of the transaction occurring?
- Was there evidence of a transaction occurring: contract, handshake, signature, payment, or proof?
- Were the next steps discussed? Such as start date, billing date, terms and conditions, etc.
Now before you scream at your screen:
Yes Riaz, I covered all of these things!
Consider some alternatives:
- Are you trying to email or call directly not being aware that your prospect may be very busy and has assigned someone to manage the transaction?
- Could they be away on vacation or business?
So I realize at this point you are probably pissed and wondering what happened – well, before you dig deeper take a breath and remember:
You will lose sales.
But realize a no sale happens for one main reason: MISCOMMUNICATION.
Yes, communication is a 2-way street.
So you must ensure that you have set realistic expectations including benefits and potential barriers that will make it not simple for the transaction to be seamless.
And you must ask the right questions before they disappear to gauge how your prospect feels about the transaction:
- Is the processing time too long for them? Do they need a quick fix you can’t possibly provide?
- Have they been burned in the past? Have you built authentic rapport and trust so your client knows what they are getting themselves into?
- Will they be billed too much too soon, or worse, billed before they even have your product or service to feel they are tangibly benefitting from your service?
- Are they fully aware that you will be there when they need you?
- Have you – from their perspective – slammed the sale and will they suffer from buyer’s remorse the moment you leave?
You need to gauge their interpretation of reality to justify whether a true transaction has occurred.
And you need to give them time.
Reflecting on the reality of the situation without adding your subjective view is the first step.
This alone will help you to avoid the mistakes you made in assuming you had made a concrete sale.
When you leave an appointment in which a transaction has occurred make sure to cover all of the questions above to ensure they are on board.
Never leave the ball in their court, ever.
And make sure they know that you will be in touch next.
Cause if they call or email even when the ball is in your court, you are still in control of the next move, which means no waiting for them to not take action.
Did I Lose The Sale?
My mum used to remind me about about how our existence functions with this simple question:
Who said life was going to be easy or fair?
And it’s a really good question.
The no-sale is prime example of when this question really has meaning.
The reality is that your prospect doesn’t need to give you a reason why they are opting out.
But they signed a contract you say.
In the new economy, a handshake nor a contract unfortunately aren’t what they used to be.
People know you won’t waste resources to come after them legally unless it is worth the cost of admission.
As Kevin O’Leary of Dragon’s Den says: money has no emotions.
Sometimes the same holds true for business owners who sacrifice integrity since they don’t want to part with their money on a risky promise that your product or service will help their bottom line – something they realize after they have made a commitment.
Which means if you haven’t been able to show them that you will create a new efficiency stream for their business – you are to blame.
Also it is sometimes necessary to cut your losses and to realize that some people will never pull the trigger.
They will stick to the status quo; their old model or technology.
They may not have the stones to make the right decisions (or any decision at all) after having taken over a business that they don’t know how to change effectively, in fear of it hurting their reputation instead of understanding what the right moves actually are for the business.
These people would rather let the blood drain slowly so to say.
Let’s just hope their business outlives their ego.
Benefit of the Doubt
It is impossible for me to tell you exactly why your prospect is struggling to move ahead with the buying process and not every prospect is stringing you along, sometimes they have a lot of red tape to cross.
So how can you push without being pushy?
Well if the opposite of miscommunication is communication but your attempt to communicate isn’t working, then you need to be indirect in your efforts to be in their face without directly telling them you need an answer.
Mention them in a tweet, like their Facebook page, link with them on LinkedIn, invite them to an event. (not all at once, don’t be needy)
Show them you want a relationship based not on you collecting their hard earned money but on the premise that you will be available and ready to serve, and that you are doing your best to grow your own business with authenticity by helping others and providing value.
By displaying interaction with other successful clients, you are building credibility and social proof that you are the go-to person in your industry.
And yes, make a point to reach out to them again without becoming a burden or an annoyance.
Persistence really is key.
Working hard instead of smart or dwelling on this one prospect will leave you wasting time when other potential clients are out there waiting for you to help their business to grow with your product or service.
Don’t let the delay of your non-responsive prospect prevent you from keeping your eyes on your remaining pipeline.
If you have shown undeniable value to a trusted prospect and they don’t respond after you have shown your hand, realize they are bluffing and fold this hand until another good one rolls around.
If you are patient enough, they may go all in next time and it will be a split pot where you both win.
What would you do if your prospect stops responding after you think you sold them?
How frequently would you try to contact someone who has stopped responding after a seemingly great transaction?
Answer these questions in the comments section below and don’t forget to join Progressive Sales Strategies on LinkedIn now to be a part of this discussion.