Most people know who first responders are…those heroes that charge into danger to save the day!
In selling efforts, though, we are more likely to run into non-responders. Those prospects who seem to run away from you after a conversation.
The non-response reaction starts harmlessly enough. You have a meeting with a prospect that seems to go well. They agree that it would be a good idea for you to send them a recommendation/proposal/overview and “follow-up” with them.
Sounds like a good plan, after all, doesn’t it?
Then reality hits.
You put together the discussed information and send it. You call to check in – Crickets.
You send an email – Crickets.
You call again. You email again. No response at all.
So you conclude: They’ve decided it’s a “no” and stop following up.
Sound familiar? It’s a situation I hear about several times a week during sales strategy conversations.
After exploring more about the specifics of what occurred during these meetings, several common “situations” surface:
- The prospect never made a commitment to do anything. They let you make a commitment to put in effort and send them something. This made them the judge and jury when that information was received, without any obligation to ever talk with you again.
- The conversation focused on telling the prospect what you thought they had to know…and not enough time learning about the compelling reasons they would be willing to do something about their situation or their openness to the service.
- The “seller” volunteered to send the follow-up information prematurely. The information sent was “generic” and the prospect didn’t see its relevance.
- A shared, clear objective and agenda was not established pre-meeting and start-of-meeting.
What can you do to set yourself up to STOP the chase and follow-up of these non-responders and remove the four situations outlined here?
Stop Chasing Your Prospects
- Always identify the objective of the conversation in preparation of a sales conversation.
- Start the conversation with a shared agenda and permission to move forward. There are important “dos” to start a productive conversation. Connecting to the person/people and agreeing on the agenda is a good way to begin.
- Investigate their problems, opportunities, wants, and needs (POWNs) and uncover the risks and rewards that are important to them.
- Ditch the pitch. Connect any information you share specific to what you’ve learned about them. If you can’t connect it to the prospect specifically, it’s premature!
- Ask for concerns or objections and problem solve through them with the prospect. Ask for and then work through the objection using an early-life lesson!
- Ask for a specific commitment and action at the end of a conversation. Close the conversation, if not the sale! If you get the, “We want to think things over…we’re not ready for a next step but why don’t you send us xxxx.” Don’t do it without some sort of commitment from them. The commitment could be:
- A 15-30-minute phone call to review the details.
- A specific date that they will get back to you with responses.
- Clear next steps of any sort — that include your actions and their actions/commitment.
This seems like a lot to consider, but your preparation is what will make this a reality. It is the most important time you can use to increase your probability of the desired objective.
This valuable prep time sets you up as the guide and leader in the process; not the chaser. You will be the first responder who is navigating the process with the prospect. When you have an engaged buyer, because you have given them the opportunity to collaborate and participate, they stop non-responding and move forward responsively.
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