It's easy to spend days, weeks, or months speaking with a prospect, working up to a decision to buy. This is especially true if your prospects are in larger companies.
Sometimes your lead can go dead. You're not sure why, but your contact person just goes quiet ? sometimes disappearing for good.
Was your price too high? Did you say something wrong? What should you do?
I've had a few clients in exactly this situation ? one even had his prospect located overseas. And they report great results by using this simple procedure.
Usually in these circumstances you can't contact your prospect by phone. This is a sure sign they have "disappeared". If this is the case for you, simply leave a voice mail message that you will send an email to them and ask them to "please take a moment to read it".
1) Remove the pressure ? assume they will say "no".
Sometimes prospects think they have put themselves in an awkward position where they have to make a decision. They could feel backed into a corner. Sometimes they may be embarrassed because they have taken so long to come to a decision. Or because their superiors don't agree with them. Or maybe they haven't got the finances to buy from you.
Either way, they may suddenly back-off because they feel under pressure. You must take that pressure away by assuming they will not go ahead. Assume they will say "no" to your proposal.
2) Send a polite, non-threatening message.
Because you have probably had trouble contacting the person by phone, send this via email.
Your message needs to say something like you "Appreciate the time they have taken so far to discuss their requirements. And you understand they may not be in a position at the moment to use your service. But when they are ready to proceed you would greatly appreciate an opportunity to speak with them about a service to suit their needs." Or use similar wording for your situation.
This approach gives your prospect a way to "save face". It gives them a way out of a tricky situation. They now know that you are not "expecting" anything from them, so they can relax and tell you what they will really be doing.
It also helps you to build trust with that prospect. By taking this approach you are demonstrating that you:
? Understand they may be in a difficult situation.
? Are interested in the longer term, not just an immediate sale.
? Are still on good terms with them, and not annoyed by the outcome.
By using this technique my clients have found that their "dead" lead comes back to life. One of the following usually occurs.
Either the contact person feels bad about not letting you know what has happened, so they return your call or email and tell you.
Or someone else from the company returns your message and says something like "So-and-so doesn't work here anymore, so I have forwarded your message on to the-new-guy who has taken over that role."
You win - no matter what happens. You now understand what you need to do next to keep the sale alive.
© 2006Stuart Ayling. MySalesTutor.com
Stuart Ayling is known as the 'Sales Tutor'. Stuart offers a unique sales training eCourse at http://www.MySalesTutor.com. This 16-day course give you the skills and confidence to handle any sales situation and close more sales. Stuart has developed this eCourse specially for independent professionals, service providers, and business owners, based on sales "best practices" and proven trust-based sales techniques. To get the eCourse visit http://www.MySalesTutor.com/ecourse.htm