If this has happened to you, you are not alone.
You sent a proposal to a prospect and then never heard from her again.
Or you sent a free sample of your product to a prospect to evaluate and afterwards you were unable to reach her on the telephone.
After the first call, you had what you felt was a productive conversation about your products or service.
Or, they call you, appearing to be interested in what you have to offer. They ask for a proposal and since you have all the information you feel you need, you take the time to develop and send a proposal.
And then …
The Vanishing Act
You don’t hear from her.
You leave a message and you don’t get a return call.
You call and leave another message. And another. (Bad sign.)
After awhile it becomes obvious.
Your prospect has either been kidnapped, died, or somehow vanished from the face of the earth, leaving no trace behind.
Or it could be they are procrastinating. They have put off reading your proposal or trying your product.
Or their plans have changed.
Whatever the reason, you need to find out what the situation is, so you can either cross them off your list or continue to follow up.
What to Do – in Advance of a Vanishing Act
During the first conversation:
- Get the names of additional contacts within the company. Ask: “In addition to you, who else is involved in the decision-making process?” Or: “Who else in your company should I talk to about this?”
- Get at least one other name – preferably two or three names of people you can contact in the future in case your prospect is unreachable when you make your follow-up calls.
Another Reason Why They Disappear
You did not get an “action commitment” during the first contact. Before you send anything, whether it’s a proposal or brochure or a product to evaluate, ask for a commitment.
1. “I’ll make a note to follow up with you next week. Or will two weeks be better for you?”Whatever the answer, reconfirm the date. If they say three weeks is better, you can say: “Good! Let’s make plans to talk in three weeks and I’ll call you on July 28th. Okay?”
End the call by repeating the date and time of your telephone appointment: “I have you on my calendar for a 9:30 a.m. telephone call on July 28th and unless I hear from you otherwise, I will phone you then.”
Include the date and time for your telephone appointment in the note you send with your proposal or brochure or sample of your product.
2. “After you review the proposal, what is the next step in the process?” Then use #1 above, Or –
3. “After you try our product and if it works well for you, when will you be placing your order with us?” Then use #1 above.
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Feedback from Readers of this e-book: “The Best ROI in 18 Years!”
“Ann, thank you for what I would consider the best ROI percentage that I have ever experienced in 18 years. I downloaded and read just three pages in your Voicemail Tips -jotted down a short message to leave at a customer I have called four times in the last two weeks with no reply and she called me back the next day!”
Steve Sheffield, President
Southwest Office Systems
“What’s fun to hear is the feedback I get from sales reps on how the tips have worked – so they really see the benefits and continue to utilize the techniques for more than just one day.”