This Expert's Corner Article on 're-engaging sales prospects that have gone dark on you' is brought to you by Jeff Goldberg, from Jeff Goldberg & Associates
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As a sales trainer and coach, I'm often asked what to do when a prospect "goes dark" on you...
You know what I mean...you've had a couple of meetings, worked hard and put together a killer proposal and presented it to your prospect who gave you every indication they liked it and wanted to move forward... just not right this very second.
However, you didn't set an appointment to meet with them again and that's that last time you speak.
I recommend a follow-up call or at least an email that puts them on the spot but also gives them an out. You must be willing to hear that they've decided not to do business with you.
It's part of sales... we don't close the sale every time but we also don't want to hear the word "no."
"No" is my second favorite word when it comes to selling. I like it almost as much as I like “Yes". You can't be afraid to hear that someone has decided to not do business with you. In fact, it's a good thing. Not as good as "yes" but not a bad thing. If you're willing to hear the word "no," here's a technique to re-engage a prospect.
Send an email with the subject line - 'SHOULD I CLOSE THE FILE???' (yes, all in caps) followed by this message (adjust as needed for your particular situation):
When we last met (or spoke) you seemed extremely interested in moving forward. I am too! I told you I'd follow-up, and have reached out to you several times via phone and email, but haven’t heard back.
I’m the type of salesperson who believes in being politely persistent, and I’ll keep calling and emailing until you tell me not to, but I don’t want to be a pest.
At the same time, if you’re potentially interested in moving forward, I don’t intend to stop calling and have you think I’m ignoring you.
If you’d like to continue the conversation, and potentially move forward, kindly reply with one or two options over the next week that are the best times for us to speak, and I’ll find a way to accommodate your schedule.
If not, that’s okay, but please get back to me to let me know… should I close the file?
This email/voicemail often gets a very quick response. Sometimes the response is, "Yes, we've decided to go in a different direction. Please close the file." and that's a GOOD thing. You no longer need to waste any time or energy wondering what happened and can move on to other opportunities.
Way more often, however, the response is, "So sorry... I got your call and emails but I've been swamped. Don't close the file. Please give me a call next week and we can set up a meeting." ...and that's a VERY GOOD thing!
So my advice is this...
Don't be afraid to hear the word "No." It's part of sales. Be assertively and politely persistent, but try to get a yes or no either way. Everything other than those two options stink!