Thursday, November 18, 2010

 

How to get "lost" prospects to re-engage

Jill Konrath, in addition to writing highly-recommended books, publishes a regular newsletter that's become one of my favorites. This morning she featured an article by Eric Slife with best practices on getting dormant prospects to re-engage.

With permission, here's Eric's piece from Jill's newsletter:

Getting Prospects Re-Engaged
By Eric Slife

You finish your presentation, and your prospect states, "Everything looks great. I'll call you in a couple of days to move forward." Several days pass, a week, then a month. They don't return you calls, and you have no idea why. Sound familiar?

I'm not sure what's more frustrating; not getting the business, or not knowing why. Here are some easy tips to reconnect with your prospect.

1. Establish Guidelines - At the very outset, establish guidelines for the relationship you are about to enter.

"Mr. or Miss Prospect, thanks for agreeing to meet with me today. I have some questions I'd like to ask you today, and I'm sure you probably have some questions you want to ask me. Before we get started, I just want you to know, it's okay to tell me "No."

Sometimes, a client chooses to go a different direction, but they feel uncomfortable telling me. If at any point while working together, you determine my product or service isn't the right fit, will you please let me know?

2. Voicemail with Email - I don't expect people to return my voicemail. However, within my voicemail, I'll inform them I'm sending an email, because for many busy individuals it's easier to respond. In my email I will write,

"Mr. or Miss Prospect, upon our last discussion, you requested I follow up with you at this date and time regarding... I've tried several times to call you, but unfortunately, we haven't been able to connect. I'm beginning to feel like I'm becoming a pest. Please let me if your situation has changed, so I know how and when to best follow up."

Because many people aren't comfortable telling you "no" over the phone or in person, this approach gives the prospect a way out of the situation, and you can move on. Often, you find they have been slammed or you get some additional information as to why the delay.

3. Disengage Caller ID - Call your phone company and ask how to disengage your caller id. This way your prospect can no longer screen your calls.

4. Did I Do Something Wrong? - You might leave a message for your prospect that says, "
"Mr. or Miss Prospect you asked me to follow up on... I've tried to reach out several times, but I never heard back from you. Did I do something that offended or upset you?"

5. Copy Referrer on Email - If you were referred by another individual, copy them on your email. This is especially useful if you were referred by a superior. Don't throw your contact under the bus, but apply a little pressure.

6. Discard Proposals - Finally, always be willing to walk away. I want to do business with adults, not children. If someone requests to call them back, but then never returns my calls or email when I'm following their directions, those aren't the customers I'm looking for. However, I'll provide one final opportunity.

"Mr. or Miss Prospect, you requested I contact you on... I've tried several times, but I never heard back from you. The price (or proposal) was good for 30 days, so unfortunately I have to discard your file."

Put a time limit on all your proposals. This creates a sense of urgency, and it doesn't lock you into a price for an extended period of time.

About The Author
Eric Slife is President of Sales Training Central. From cold calling to closing, we provide comprehensive, affordable online sales training and sales management programs that can be customized for both individuals and sales teams.

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