The school summer holidays are just around the corner and this can be a very frustrating time for marketeers and sales professionals. It is a time where there is a lot of disruption and absence in the work place. Decision makers are going on holiday with their family for weeks at a time and would rather be out in a sunny pub garden than in the office.
Hot leads appearing to go cold at any time is painful enough, however it can be even more frustrating during the summer period! Sales professionals will be going loopy and saying to themselves: "why have they not replied?”, “what have I done wrong?"…
We have all been there!... You have been speaking to a prospect for the last month and every conversation has gone swimmingly. They ask all the right questions, they are rapid with their responses and you both get on like a house on fire. You send over the proposal and then suddenly the love story ends, and they disappear into the wilderness. You try calling, emailing and leaving voicemails but you cannot get hold of them. If this sounds like you, then sit back, grab a coffee and take have a read of our 5 tips to try help you get through this frustrating time.
1) Don’t Overthink!
Ok, ok, we know this may sound impossible right now. Days, weeks and months have passed and that “guaranteed deal” that you have been bragging to everyone about is appearing to slip through your fingers.
Our brains are programmed to identify and scan for threats, so it will only be natural to start thinking things like: “maybe I was too forward”, “perhaps I was too greedy with the price” and “I knew I shouldn’t have replied so quickly!”
However in reality, it is unlikely to be any of these things. The likelihood is that your prospect has a million and one different tasks to do and unfortunately your proposal will be towards the bottom of their list. It becomes so easy to forget this when we get desperate for a sale, but they probably are just desperately trying to get their own KPIs hit before they sail on their summer vacation. It is hard to take, but there is more to their job than talking to you unfortunately.
2) Stop with the desperation!
Desperation is not attractive! It turns people off almost instantly. We all know this is the case, yet still proceed to make a tenth call of the day to the prospect, putting yourself firmly in danger of receiving a restraining order.
Most of us know not to cross the line between eagerness and desperation in normal day to day social situations. However, when targets are at stake, good judgment can go up in flames. Sales people need to make a certain amount of sales each month to keep their jobs and the pressure can sometimes make them come far too strong with their prospects.
It is also very important not to offer a discount too early. Nothing wreaks of desperation like someone offering a discount before they have even had a chance to look at the email. Besides, they may have even been willing to sign your contract for the original price. So, make sure that the prospect is happy with the rest of the solution you are offering, before you get out your red pen. Stay strong and know your solution’s worth!
3) There are other leads in the sea, so go get more business!
There comes a time when you need to give the prospect a breather. After all, you can not force someone to reply to you and you cannot magic away the rest of their priority tasks. Putting all your eggs in one basket is extremely dangerous and quite frankly crazy. Your boss does not want to hear about the deals you “are probably going to get”. They want to see numbers on the board!
So, make sure that you leave the distant lead in the oven, while you focus on other prospects. This will also take your mind off things and will help with your desperation problem in point 2!
4) Send over some edibles
If there is one thing that people love in the office, then it is food. It tastes great and it allows them an excuse to get away from their keyboards for a minute. Food of course is also twice as appealing when it is free! So, find a local bakery to deliver a tin of cookies to send to your prospect. To make this even more personal, ask the bakery if they can handwrite a message of your choice to and place it inside the order. Keep the message short and sweet like “Hi Prospect, we hope you and your team enjoy the delicious cookies, have a great weekend!” Just make sure you remember to address the note from your selves! You don’t want the bakery to get all of the credit now…
This is a simple, personal and caring gesture and it will get the whole office talking about you and your company. The prospect will say thank you, which will resume your conversation. And if they do not like the cookies or reply with a thank you, then count your self lucky that you didn’t have to do business with these monsters!
5) Do not send the break-up email, there is no need to give up
Some sales people like to give ultimatums and say things such as “I have tried reaching you, yet I have not heard anything back, so I will leave you alone, however I would strongly recommend not taking this approach!
The prospect is (or was) a hot lead for a reason, so don’t waste them if they haven’t given you a solid NO yet. Often, reps will use this type of last-ditch effort to push the prospect into moving forward. But in reality, you are just providing them with an easy way out. You're doing the breaking up, so they don't have to.
Leave the door half open instead of slamming it completely shut. Send a message like “Is everything ok? I have tried contacting you a few times, but it appears that our proposal is not the right fit for your company at this precise moment. I don’t want to bombard you, so will try contacting you again in a couple of months”. This shows that you are assertive, yet considerate and they are sure to respect that.