Your new opportunity is cruising along beautifully (at least you think so) and then all of the sudden nothing. The contact goes “dark” and can’t be reached. The deal stalls. Your experience tells you this is not good. Your manager is telling you this is not good. Panic sets in and desperation moves start to make sense. Blind discount offers, stalking calls and emails and/or a surprise visit will do the trick. Unfortunately, most of the time not effective. So what works?
Sales Challenge Quiz.
No contact means something.
It doesn’t always mean something bad however. Many times they are simply busy. Something else came up that prioritized above your solution for the moment. Don’t immediately give away the farm and/or begin an all out attack. With that said… don’t get lulled into waiting too long either. Always stay in contact regardless if they answer back or not. I always do until they “buy or die”.
“The second principle of magic: things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed.” James G. Frazer
They’re in voyeur mode.
Even though they’re not answering they are listening and/or reading what you say. When I finally get through they almost always reference an earlier email or voicemail I left. It’s important to strategize on the message goal regardless of no answers.
Note: If you have asked someone else to try and contact (a manager, vendor or peer) this potential client make sure they stay on message as well. Conflicting messages can kill any future conversations.
What’s your message?
When you reach out are you saying the same thing over and over again? Change the message. Keep it simple and easy to understand. Don’t get caught up in the “more information I give them the better chances of reviving the deal” trap. I like a simple subject line or opening statement like; “Product changes since last quote. We need to talk!” or “Remember the savings… Are you ready to get this started? ”.
Time to fall on the sword.
I have used this from time to time and it does work. Here’s basically how it goes; “Customer, Did I mess up? If so, I would be happy to have someone else talk with you going forward. Let me know.” or something like this. Pretty simple and effective. You will get an answer and it’s 50/50 whether it’s good or bad news. But, at least you know where you stand. You can only do this one time so use it wisely.
All else has failed, time to go over their head.
I had a potential client go dark after I proved that I could save them a bunch of money with my product. The two contacts simply would not return any messages. Frustrating. I had earlier researched their company and found their CEO on LinkedIn. I reached out to him and explained that I simply could not understand the no contact when I could save his company money. He immediately reached out to me and so did his contacts. We’re back in business. While saving money was not an immediate priority for the contacts it sure was for the CEO it turns out.
Note: Going over a contacts head is a tricky proposition. I only use this when there really are no other options.
When your deal stalls make sure you take a strategy approach and not a panic one. Your closing rate and relationships will sky rocket. They have for me.© 2006-2017 SalesBlog! | Photos courtesy of 123RF