In sales, there is nothing more frustrating than waiting to hear back from a prospect. We’ve all been there—spent time researching a potential client, had great meetings, agreed on next steps and then nothing, nada, just silence.
Rather than dealing with prospect silence after it happens, try preventing it in the first place. Wouldn’t it be easier to keep the sale moving rather than to resurrect it? Here are three strategies which can prevent prospect silence:
Strategy 1: Secure A Date and Time for Every Step of the Sales Process
One of the best ways to prevent prospect silence is to set a specific date and time for a next step at every stage of the sales process. Lock it in before the meeting ends. Don’t settle for “Let’s connect sometime next week.” Try saying, “How is Thursday at 10 to review the proposal together?”
Decision makers often agree to a date and time if you ask for one during the meeting or call. After the meeting or call, all their other priorities take over and their attention is gone.
Strategy 2: Schedule a 10-Minute Check-In
Your prospect may push back on a next meeting, or it may be inappropriate to have a full meeting as the next step. Let’s say your prospect agrees to a second meeting, but needs to invite a colleague. Without the other person’s calendar, committing to a date and time is unrealistic. That’s when the 10-minute check-in call is perfect. Try saying, “I understand you need to check with Tom about his availability. Let’s put a 10-minute check-in call on the calendar for Thursday at 10 to see where we are with scheduling. If I hear from you before, we’ll just take it off the calendar.”
I have found prospects easily agree to a 10-minute call. And, the call often prompts him or her to do whatever was promised.
Strategy 3: Ask Questions That Uncover Urgency and Use That Information
Asking when a prospect wants to start or complete a project can help you discover priorities and urgency, which can be used as leverage to keep the sales process moving.
Sometimes I’ll ask, “If what I’m describing is Nirvana for you, how soon do you want to get started?” A good follow-up question is, “Why is starting this project at that time so important for you?”
Using the prospect’s exact words as the reason to keep progressing is very successful. After all, you’re just helping the prospect achieve his goals! For example, “You told me you want to start next week. Because today is Monday, I will send you the contract by Wednesday. If you could turn that around by Friday with an initial payment, we can schedule the work to start next week. How does that work for you?”
By employing these three strategies, you can shorten your sales cycle and eliminate the frustrating and time-consuming chase. Remember, your prospects are busy people. They act on and respond to suggestions that make their lives better.