How many times have you been engaged with a prospect for a little too long with little to no results? You’ve called on them multiple times and you don’t seem to be able to move any closer to a sale.
It happens to everyone. The question is, what do you do about it?
Terrible salespeople people tend to disappear.
They stop calling on the prospect and never go back. This is a huge mistake.
The proper first step is to go back in time and make sure you were using a solid sales process that allowed you to build a relationship and create value in the mind of the prospect.
You were? Ok great. Now the second step is to ask the prospect how THEY think you could best move forward in the process together.
Your relationship with the prospect is paramount to a good outcome here. If you aren’t able to get a straight answer when you ask them about the path forward, your relationship isn’t solid enough. Congratulations, you’ve just uncovered a growth opportunity!
Let’s assume you HAVE been doing a great job. You’ve built rapport, a relationship is forming, you’ve established that you are a capable vendor. There still may be another relationship, a contract, or some other circumstance holding them back from working with you.
At some point you’ve got to let go and move on. The key to leaving people with a positive impression is the manner in which you disengage.
So what should you do? First let’s start with what you should NOT do:
DO NOT JUST DISAPPEAR.
On your final visit, ask your prospect if there is any way they can see you guys moving forward and working together.
You could even say, “I’ve really enjoyed calling on you and bringing these new ideas these past # of weeks…but I may not have told you, we are a for-profit company. 🙂 I’d love to keep coming back to see you, but I need to take an order. Can you help me out here? Is there anything you need to buy today?”
Now normally, I would NEVER advocate talking like this to a client. Here’s the deal though: at this stage, if they don’t buy, you aren’t coming back again, so you might as well take one last crack at it right?
You could never say something like this on the first or second call…but if this is call #7 or 8, you’ve likely developed a good amount of credibility and rapport with the prospect. They understand what you’re after and they appreciate your ability to come out and ask AFTER you’ve earned the right to do so.
I have found this to work about one third of the time. I wish it was better, but sales is a numbers game.
So what should you do when it doesn’t work?
You thank the prospect for their time “these last # of calls.”
Tell them, “I’ve appreciated the opportunity to call on you, but its time for me to move on. This is my final call. Please reach out if I can be of help you in the future!”
They have likely never had a salesperson do this.
99% of the time, when a salesperson has decided they are done calling on a prospect, they just disappear without a trace. Proposals in process, samples requested….doesn’t matter; they’re gone.
In the event you decide you’re done with a prospect, have the above discussion openly. They’ll respect you for it and you’ll stand out in a positive way in their mind. They still may not choose to work with you, but they will respect you and your candor.
Also, if you’ve been visiting consistently, you now have them mentally conditioned to expect your regular call. When they get an odd feeling one day and realize you didn’t come around, they’ll actually feel a sense of loss!
When the incumbent vendor botches an order 3 weeks later, who do you think the buyer will call first? The salesperson they now realize they should have started working with weeks ago.
Leave everyone you meet with a positive impression, whether they become a client or not.
Pots in the fire my friends….pots in the fire.
Go be awesome.