“I’ve got someone who could use your help. She heads up a non-profit group that needs to promote itself better. I told her you’d get in touch.”
My colleague handed me her contact information.
I followed up with a phone call. And I still haven’t heard back. Not a peep. And this is someone who needs – and asked for – my help.
An isolated case? Hardly..
Last month, I sent a proposal to a prospect to revamp his website. He was very excited about the project – but every time I try to reach him to get a “yes” or a “no,” all I get is silence. He too ‘should’ have responded – but he hasn’t.
When this happens, it’s annoying – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being ignored. These days, it seems to be the way more and more very busy people are simply saying “Not right now.”
So what do you do about it? Do you leave the ball in their court and just sit around waiting for them to hit it back? Of course not.
It takes an average of seven (some even say 10, 12 or 20) sales calls to close a deal. So if you always give up after the first couple of tries, you’ll never sell your product or service to anyone. It’s your responsibility to remind your prospects (sometimes again and again) that they are interested in your proposal. It’s your responsibility to be PERSISTENTuntil they’re ready to continue the conversation.
That said, here are five tried-and-true techniques that I – and people I know – use to speed up the process:
1. Ask for a simple “yes” or “no.” Some people respond to straight-talking. And this can help to make a response much simpler for your prospect, because they haven’t got to make up an excuse, or explain their current situation.
So consider writing a simple e-mail message that says, “I appreciate that you’re really busy, and I don’t want to chase you again. So please, just give me a yes or no!” Often you’ll get a response, one way or another.
2. Put “Second Request” in the e-mail subject line. When faced with silence, Howard Stone, co-author of “Too Young to Retire”, sends the same e-mail message a week later with “Second Request” in the subject line.
3. Give them a deadline to respond. Some people only take action when a deadline is looming. So ask your prospects to respond by a certain date, (and always try and give a reason for the deadline)..
4. Express concern. On a second or third try, express concern by saying “I hope you are alright.” This works especially well with people you know personally. It brings the interaction to a human level, reminds them that there’s a real person trying to reach them, and usually provokes a response.
5. Put them on auto-drip. Whether or not you have a deal pending, you should have an automated marketing sequence in place to help keep your name in all your prospects’ minds. The three best ways to remind them of the service that you provide are with a monthly (or even bi-weekly) e-mail newsletter, a print newsletter, or a direct-mail postcard.
And remember this: When they’re ready to go ahead with your proposal, they will be GRATEFUL that you didn’t give up. In fact, the next time you call, they just might say, “I’m so glad to hear from you. I’ve been meaning to call.”
P.S. I’m preparing my work schedule for the final three months of the year, so if you’d like, we can jump on the phone together for an hour, and I’ll identify where your weaknesses are, and map out a follow-up strategy that will make BIG improvements to your sales over the coming months and into next year.
Simply go here to book your slot in my diary, and tell me a little bit about your business, and your ambitions and goals.