Basics of Sales 14: Prospects Going Cold

when prospects go cold

We have talked about positive signs that a prospect is generally interested and ways in which you might put them off, so what should you do when a prospect seems to be going cold that once you had hopes for?

You’re Not That Important

There are a thousand good reasons why your prospect may have gone quiet, it might be that they need more time, it might be they need to compare you with other providers. It could just be that you are not that important! I think sales people are often guilty of forgetting that their prospects do have other responsibilities and talking to them is not among them! One reaction you often see from a sales person when someone seems to have gone a bit quiet is to turn up the juice. They will contact them more often, through more channels and might even drop them a quick deal to entice them back. This is a really easy way to cross that line into becoming a pest. You would be surprised how often a seemingly cold prospect has come back with an enquiry months after I have thought it was dead.

They Told You No

I would say generally speaking that people are polite and they are sometimes reluctant to give you a no (even though in most cases this is much more desirable) but quite often they will give you a good indication if they are interested or not. Many sales people are taught that an objection is actually an opportunity to better sell and although in many cases this true, sometimes an objection is just an objection! If someone tells you something is too expensive, you can prove the value of what you do, but they might just be telling you they can’t afford it.

A Cold Process

As I often say time is money and you have to have your limit on how much time you invest chasing someone who isn’t interested. Some guidelines I would recommend where you’ve already passed on your information:

Initial Contact

2 weeks after- Follow up and make sure they got your information, are the right person to speak to, this is NOT an opportunity for a sales pitch necessarily but it confirms that they are an actual prospect worth chasing. Hopefully in this call you’ll get some sort of time frame/indication when to follow up. I would also add them onto various social media/newsletters at this point.

3 months after initial contact- assuming they’ve not given you a timeline to follow up then 3 months is a pretty reasonable time to call them again and see if they might be interested in the near future, at this point be sure to give them another out so as you’re not wasting your time. If they still tell you it’s warm, keep them on your list.

6 months after initial contact- If they still aren’t making a peep then it maybe time to send a ‘I want to wipe you from the list’ email, don’t assume that no answer means they aren’t interested. It might be worth phoning afresh and seeing if that is still the person responsible. At this point if the prospect still doesn’t look strong and is ‘keeping you on file for the future’ then I would take them off your prospecting list but unless they say they aren’t interested keep them on your marketing database. After this point the most you want to contact them is bi-yearly to ensure you still have the right details.

Remember a cold prospect is not necessarily a bad thing! Yes sometimes in chasing people you do have to be tenacious, but generally if you’re following up leads, not putting pressure on, not becoming a nuisance and selling something actually worthwhile….people will convert.

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