We have all been there. The prospect seemed to be interested in what we had to offer, then poof! They disappear faster than a rabbit in a magicians act. The chase is on! We call, text, email, send a letter, send the swat team. Anything to get a response! The following are seven ways to put some sanity in the sales process and put purpose in your prospecting.
1. Ask the best method of communication
2. Ask how to stand out in their inbox
3. Define the next step
4. Ask for a timeline for responding
5. Send information they find useful
6. Summarize post-meeting agenda in an email
7. Schedule it!
Ask the Best method of Communication
What's the best way to reach you, text, phone or email? Most of us prefer one form of communication over another. I am guessing it could be age-related? Find out in the current conversation what method works for getting the next conversation going. Even the simple act of giving you a way to contact them is a small commitment to a future discussion.
Ask how to Stand out in Their Inbox
Most executives will receive 150+ emails per day. This sea of correspondence is littered with non-urgent email and promotions that get sent to the cyber hole. When sending follow up emails, there is a good chance your prospects are not opening them. Next time your prospect asks you to email them, ask them what to put in the subject line, so they know it's you. Asking what to put in the subject line of an email is another way to solidify the relationship and get a micro-commitment. When you take the time to personalize emails, you stand out from other spam-happy salespeople as well.
Ask for a Timeline
When can you expect to hear from them? Let the prospect know you typically get back with people in 24-48 hours. They may need two weeks or even a month to get the ok to move forward. If they are not interested, you will find that out as well.
Have the next step
They say a movie is never as good the second time as it was the first. The same is true of sales. If you don't get the next step, you will find the chase is on. When you do finally catch up with them, the excitement they had over your offering may have faded. The more time that goes by between each encounter, the less likely the deal will close. The adage is true; time kills all deals.
Summarize your meeting
Summarize your meeting to make sure you identified and understood their concerns. This one act will differentiate you from most of your competition. Make sure you both agree to the next step and thank them for their time. Use this email as a way to build rapport, make mention of something you both can agree on besides you offering. Success in sales is all about trust, then value.
Send Information they can use
Do your research and find some information they can benefit from in their business. Look for anything related to the industry, company, and people. Put the company in google alerts to see the latest news.
Do you have a time blocked in your schedule for followup? Lack of follow-up is the number one reason sales are not closed. Prospects are crazy busy and struggle with competing agendas. A prospecting follow-up plan should include 8-10 touches with different communication pathways. Most salespeople only followup 1-2 times before giving up. The salespeople who are willing to do what others won't, get what others don't. Use these tips to improve your sales process and become a followup Sales Ninja!
Luck can be found at the intersection of hard work and perseverance.