If you were have a face to face conversation, and your conversational partner upped and left mid sentence - you'd probably be a bit upset, and try and work out what had happened. However, when this happens with a sales prospect, we often do not follow through or investigate. Improving upon this could not only result in saved sales, but also enable us to hone and improve our sales pitches in future, and reduce the number of lost sales. Today, we're discussing how to follow up when your sales prospect has disappeared.
The first step we're going to recommend is probably the most intuitive. Avoid losing your sales in the first place! We know that this is far easier said than done, but there are a few tips and tricks you can employ to keep the channels of conversation open. One of our favourite sales tips is; 'we have two ears and one mouth, and should use these in proportion', put simply, we should be listening to our customers far more than we should be talking to them. In every communication, listen out for any sign that your customer is less than 100% satisfied, and seek to rectify this. When your conversation comes to a close, whether it is in person, via email, or on the telephone, always set up the next point of conversation by organising your next phone call or visit.
2. Assume positivity
We all have busy lives, filled with multiple conversations, tasks, and contacts. If your contact goes cold, do not assume that they do not wish to talk to you. Instead, adopt positivity. Perhaps they are very busy, on annual leave, or have merely forgotten. By adopting a positive attitude, you will avoid doubt, desperation, or annoyance seeping into your communications. A simple, 'I'm sorry we missed each other, when can we reschedule' is far more likely to ilicit a positive to response, as opposed to, 'You missed my phone call, when can I call you?'
3. Switch up the conversation
As well as being sales prospects, your customers are real people with lives, hobbies, and interests. If your sales conversation has gone cold, open a different channel of communication by asking something unrelated to sales. Perhaps you're visiting their city shortly, and would like advice on where to go, perhaps you have a question about their opening hours, or wish to send them seasonal greetings. Whatever you choose to say, make it lighthearted and friendly.
So, the worst has happened, and your lead has gone cold. Take this moment as a learning opportunity. Look back and review your conversations and communications. Was there an element that your customer did not respond positively to? Did they mention any issues they might have had with your product or service? Don't be afraid to reach out to your customer during this process, and offer them the opportunity to feedback why they did not choose to work with you during this time.
Sometimes, just sometimes, it's not you, it's them. The context to your missed sale may be larger than you currently realise. Research your customer's current trading climate and industry, and analyse whether there is something in the wider context that may have prevented them from trading with you on this occasion. This will either enable you to help in overcoming your customers pain points and adjust their product or service to cater to their needs, or allow you to cut your losses, and focus on a more productive sales segment.
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Borg and Overström are a manufacturer, and trade-only supplier, of innovative, quality, water systems.
We take pride in working with our clients to help them to develop their businesses, providing tailored sales, marketing, and technical training and advice.