It happens to the best of us! Everything is going well, the prospect really loves the product and raved about the presentation you gave, and then they start “ghosting” you. So what gives? Why would they suddenly stop answering? Did you say something wrong? Did another salesperson have a lower price?
Chances are, if you’ve been following my advice, the answer to that is, no. You did nothing wrong, and although others are calling the prospect every day, they are not talking to another salesperson.
They may not be talking to another salesperson about the project you’re working on, but they are most likely working on another project entirely.
With more and more companies adopting a “lean” way of running their operation, that means each employee has a few different hats they wear to work. Thanks to COVID, this is more true today than it was two years ago. And it was rampant, even back then.
With your prospects having more and more responsibilities given to them, they are going to have less time to work on your project. It’s not that they don’t want to, they just simply don’t have the time!
SHOULD YOU GIVE THEM SOME SPACE?
When they ignore your calls or emails, it’s not a personal thing. They just don’t have time to work on that project, and some people feel guilty about that. Since you two do have a better relationship than most, they may feel badly that they are ignoring you.
Well, think about it. When you feel guilty about something, don’t you tend to avoid the source of the guilt? And then it snowballs out of control and it would have been better to just face the issue in the first place?
What I’m saying is, if they feel guilty about not being able to take your calls, then it makes it increasingly less likely that they will answer future calls. So, yes, you should give them a little space. That’s not to say that you don’t call them for four weeks and then just try again.
It means you give them a week, or two, and you send them a “breakup email”, of sorts. Think about when you were young and were mad at your friend for some silly reason. I’m sure you’ve said, or have heard, “then, you’re not invited to my birthday!” a few times in your life! If you haven’t in real life, then I’m sure you’ve seen it in movies, but either way you’re familiar with the childish threat!
Well, in this situation we aren’t going to be childish or negative at all! In fact, we are going to make it short, positive, and empowering for the prospect.
Yes. A breakup email empowers the prospect. This is how.
In your breakup email, you’re going to assume that they are too busy on another project, and put the ball in their court for any further discussions.
You should send them something similar to:
You’re probably busy with all the other projects they have you doing these days!
Hope they go smoothly and don’t add to the already stressful situation.
You won’t be hearing from me until next quarter, but if you need anything in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out at any time!
Take care, and I wish you the best of luck on your projects!
This type of email does a few different things that will at least get you a response, and possibly even a timeline for when you should be following up with them.
Funny enough, people typically don’t like when others assume things about them. Think of how people generally react when someone assumes their favorite genre of music, or assumes they’re doing something they aren’t!
In this particular case, we aren’t being negative about anything, so assuming something about their situation isn’t going to elicit a negative response.
Rather, what you are saying to the prospect is that you understand they’re busy, you’re not taking it personally, and you want to respect their time, but also let them know that you aren’t just walking away from the project.
A lot of salespeople, a majority of them, get very deterred when a prospect stops responding for no reason, or right before they were going to seemingly purchase something.
It’s quite natural to feel that way, but it’s much better to not let it bother you at all.
You have to remember, we are all humans, and humans aren’t perfect. Sometimes we ignore our duties and responsibilities, and sometimes we’re bad at texting someone back regularly.
You are a human, and you are selling to a human. Communicating to prospects with humility will yield you the best results and earn you their utmost respect.
By using humility in your “breakup email”, the prospect will most likely respond to your email. I have used this technique more times than I can count, and it works an overwhelmingly large portion of the time.
Not only do I usually get a response, it’s usually within an hour or two after I send it. Going from getting NOTHING out of them, to an answer in the same day is a great thing. That’s a wonderful feeling as well. At least it is for me!
When they respond, they will usually tell you what their timeline is for when they can be back on your project, and it may even be sooner than you had thought!
Don’t kid yourself, a lot of times it’s a lot longer than you’d like, but either way, you have a timeline. And guess what? The timeline came from them, so they are more likely to honor it, unless something comes up. And guess what? Yeah, something may come up again.
SOMETIMES, YOU NEED TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE
There are situations where the prospect is not actually too busy to talk to you, but they just don’t want to deal with a purchase request, or maybe they haven’t asked for approval yet and they are procrastinating. Or they just forgot about you and you just keep missing them. If you are following up as well as you should, they shouldn’t have forgotten you, but it happens.
The purchasing process is different for each company, and some are more daunting than others. Think about some of the pain in the ass procedures and policies at your job. Now think about how thrilled you would be to go through with one of those procedures. The prospect’s situation could involve a very daunting purchase request process. Especially if they work for a multinational company.
In these cases, you want to get a little more aggressive with your breakup. No, we aren’t going to slash their tires or write “loser” on their office window, but we will get a response out of them.
You can try something like this:
Clearly I haven’t built a strong enough case to show you the value in this PRODUCT, and I wish you the best of luck with your current solution (or product search)
If anything changes in the future, I’d be happy to help you with the PRODUCT SPECIFICS.
Take care, and have a wonderful day (evening, weekend, week, etc.)!
Self depreciation is in and of itself a great way to get a response out of someone. Again, if you follow my advice, you have certainly built a strong enough case to show them the value, they are just not taking action for one reason or another.
The point is, by putting it on yourself while wishing them all the best, you are now putting the ball in their court, so to speak.
This will make them feel guilty about stringing you along for a while and then suddenly ignoring you. Like I said, it’s a little more aggressive than the previous example, but it’s much more effective at getting a response from someone. These emails typically get a reply within thirty minutes.
Another reason you typically get a faster response is because you aren’t asking them to do anything. You aren’t asking them to give you a purchase order, or to look at product specifications, or anything. You are simply telling them that you are going to leave them alone, but the door is always open.
You are not applying any high-pressure sales tactics, and you are respecting their space. Even though they don’t consciously realize you are respecting their space, they will react as if they do.
They will typically come back with some reason why they haven’t responded to you. Those reasons will range from being too busy, not having the money this quarter, not wanting to spend that kind of money this year, or a million others.
Notice how I don’t refer to them as “excuses”.
I feel as though “excuse”, in this context, is a negative or deceitful word. Calling it an excuse is telling yourself that you don’t trust your prospect to tell you the truth. If you don’t trust them to tell you the truth, why would they trust you to do the same?
Regardless of their reasons, they may also come back with an answer that hints toward when you should follow up with them. If they say they don’t have the money for the quarter, then you know you should follow up at the start of the next quarter.
Yes, you can do it on the first day of the next quarter. I have. It shows determination, and it shows that you want to earn their business.
Getting ignored by a prospect happens to all of us! It happens a lot more than salespeople like to admit, but we all know the truth. Regardless of industry, product, sales channel, all salespeople have been ghosted by promising leads, or even current prospects.
By following the advice I give during Sales Therapy meetings, and in my articles, this will happen a lot less often to you.
You should know by now that the more often you engage with a prospect, and the longer you stay engaged with them, the stronger the relationship.
The stronger the relationship, the better the prospect.
It all comes from treating people like people, and always communicating with positivity, and humility. My number one rule in life is the simplest rule in the book, and it’s probably the first one we learn as children.
Treat others the way you want to be treated!
It’s that simple! Seriously! If you treat your prospects the way you would like a salesperson to treat you, then you will become a very successful salesperson. You will have the biggest accounts on your team, receive the largest purchase orders, and will be very happy with your sales career.
Though these tips wont ensure that ghosting wont happen again, but it will be much less frequent than it is for you right now.
Treating other people the way you want to be treated is never going out of style. That’s just being human. So, be human, and sell to humans the way you want someone to sell to you.
This article was originally posted by u/SalesTherapy on https://www.reddit.com/r/salestechniques