Are Your Prospects Vanishing? Here’s Why

sunset-horizon-tnIf 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.

What Happened?

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.
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    Another Reason Why They Disappear
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    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.
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    Action Commitments
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    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?”
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    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.”
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    Include the date and time for your telephone appointment in the note you send with your proposal or brochure or sample of your product.
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    2.  “After you review the proposal, what is the next step in the process?”  Then use #1 above,  Or –
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    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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    Get the perfect follow-up voice mail messages in our “Hot Summer Sale” of the valuable 33-page e-book Voice Mail Tips & Scripts.  Price: $9.97 but this week – until the 23rd – just $2.97 !
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    Feedback from Readers of this e-book: “The Best ROI in 18 Years!”
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    “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!”
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    Steve Sheffield, President
    Southwest Office Systems
    Vancouver, WA
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    “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.”
    .
    Melinda Bonfig,
    Savin Corporation.
    Minneapolis, MN

 

This Follow-up Call Earned a Sale

cell-phone-woman-tnImagine how many more sales you could get if more of your prospects would actually read and think about the information you send, or brochures you leave with them during your on-site cold calls.

After talking to more than a dozen customers and sending emails or brochures with product information, how can you make it worth your time and energy?

Easy and Fast

The easiest and fastest way to get a prospect mentally involved in – and reading – the information you send, is to get them physically involved. (Not arm wrestling or anything like that.)

Unique

One sales person I bought from – when I purchased office equipment supplies for the company I worked for – had a unique way of motivating me to read the price lists she sent to me.

Here is how one follow-up phone call from this sales rep (her name was “Fern”) went:

“Hello Ann, I’m calling to follow up on the new price catalog we sent you last week.

“It has a purple cover with bright yellow printing.”

Words That Prompted Action

She went on to say:

“There has been a change in pricing on one of the products you use.

“If you have a pen handy, turn to page 14 and next to item #3, cross out the printed price and write $34.50.

“That’s your new third column price on that product and we have it in stock. How many would you like to order?”

I ordered a dozen.

Five Reasons This was Successful

  1. Fern didn’t ask me if I received the catalog (which could have ended the conversation quickly.)
  2. She immediately described the colors on the catalog, so I was able to identify it and pull it out from among all the other catalogs on my desk.
  3. She got me physically involved in the conversation by asking me to cross out the price on a specific page and write in the new price.
  4. I was then mentally involved, looking at the new price I had written and thinking about whether or not we should order this product from Fern.
  5. She ASKED for the order!
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    I ordered a dozen.
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    You can see 10 effective ways to ask for the order in this 115-page sales-building e-book at less than half price through Midnight on Wednesday.
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    Here’s wishing you a happy and cool day (cooler than the 91 degree heat we have here today!)
    .
    - Ann

 

Did He Really Say That?

question-mark-word-tnEveryone in the room was shocked at the response to an objection, John – playing the part of the sales rep – used during role play.

What was even more surprising was the positive effect on the “prospect.”

It was not the normal response to an objection.

In fact, it was the opposite of what was usually taught in sales training classes.

The objection -

Prospect:  “No thanks, we buy from (John’s competitor; let’s call it the ZYX Company.)”

John’s response to this objection achieved his goal of creating trust with the prospect and not sounding “salesy.”

After all, John was being truthful – based on his research and knowledge of competitors.

He knows what his competitors can offer and cannot offer.

He also knows which items the prospect uses.  (The result of very good research.)

The response that surprised everyone

John:  “The ZYX Company is a good competitor of ours.”     (What?)

This response validated the prospect’s decision to buy from the ZYX Company and eliminated any pressure the prospect may have felt.

John continued (in a friendly tone of voice):

“However, they don’t stock the [item the prospect uses] and we do provide that and can ship it to you tomorrow.  How many do you order each month?”

I found out that John’s response to this objection results in a sale for him 95 percent of the time.

This knowledge of competitors impresses most prospects and leads to the creation of trust and more sales!

You can find out more about how to win against the competition in my new e-book  “Yes – You Can Win Against the Competition and Grow Your Business with Smart Marketing!”
(Whew – long title.)

Included in this 40-page sales-building e-book:

  • The #1 way to convince prospects your expertise & products will get the results they want!
  • How to create loyal customers who will turn first to you AND will come back to let you know if they find a lower price!
  • The top reason buyers will believe you are the first and best choice!CLICK HERE to see more info about this powerful new e-book.

 

If Only

any-questionsIf only prospects could just listen to you talk about your amazing products and services and then – place an order : )

That would be sooo nice, and would make your day so much easier.

Too bad it doesn’t usually happen that way.

Depending on your prospect’s needs, situation and budget, there are almost always objections, or . . .

. . . just questions that sound like objections, so:

How Do You Prepare?

It’s easy to say: “Know your product.”

Of course, we need to know our products.

Just as important:

HOW does your product make the prospect’s lives better or easier?

And then:

Think about the best way to ask the questions that will get to the heart of the prospect’s needs or wants.

And how to find out why they are hesitating.

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Are they afraid to place an order because . . .
  •  . . . they are not sure if the service will be dependable?

or

  • They are not sure if your product will meet their needs?

or

  • Is it fear of changing vendors?

Here’s What to Do

Before you make your next call, write down the objections you hear most often.

Next to these objections, write down what the prospect may be thinking, based on the examples listed above.

Then, write down your response to what you feel the prospect may really be thinking.

You’ll find that the responses you write for what they may be thinking will also work for the objections they give you.

When you hear “I’m happy with my current vendor,” Imagine they are saying “Why should I change?”

Prepare your reasons why other prospects have switched over to your company and the benefits they have found after becoming one of your customers.

You Can “Shorten the Sales Cycle”

     “Ann, after being part of your e-Course, I now have better decision making, better control of meetings and handling objections to shorten the sales cycle. Thank you!”

Norman Deane, Senior Office Solutions Specialist
Repro Products, Smyrna, Georgia

More very nice testimonials on this page.

You are invited to join me for the next private one-to-one e-Course and you can

  • Learn how to create your own unique opening statement that gets attention, interest – and avoids rejection.
  • Use authentic words that will cause the customer to trust you and understand that you are there to help her rather than “just get the sale.”
  • Find out exactly how to create trust during the first call.
  • Discover specific questions to ask the prospect that will motivate her to think – and share important information you need, to move forward with the sale.

And much, much more.

The next e-Course begins on Wednesday.

If you are ready to begin reaching more decision makers and closing more sales, drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you!

Ann

PS: Your BTA member discount applies for this course!

One Thing Makes Cold Calling Easier & More Successful

workplace-meeting-med-tnIf one of your employees is new at sales or looking for ways to feel more confident making outbound cold calls, this story is for you.

Even though it happened years ago, the memory is still vivid.

It was my first sales job.

Before day one on the job I began reading books about sales to learn as much as possible.

Dozens of well-written books by experienced authors were stacked up on my bookshelf with important sentences underlined and Post-it notes on the pages that seemed most helpful.

But the actual experience of making cold calls was a shock.

The rejection was real and hurtful.  (It’s hard not taking rejection personally.)

Not getting positive results from making outbound cold calls was disappointing, to say the least.

It was at that point that I asked myself: “What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I make this work?” 

The Thing That Made the Difference. 

One experience changed everything:

It started with an announcement from the manager:

“We will have role play this afternoon from 1:00 to 4:30!”

(Yikes!)

The Situation

At 1:00 that day, seven other sales reps, plus me, sat in a conference room, around a table – with “an observer.”

The observer was not a manager or a supervisor, but an objective and knowledgeable technician.

He took notes but said nothing until after everyone finished playing the part of sales rep and customer.

We all nervously waited for results.

Would he criticize our mistakes?

Would he comment on our badly worded questions?

Would he ask why someone playing the part of the sales rep did not ask for the sale?

Thankfully, no.

He focused on positive and insightful questions asked by reps playing the part of the sales person.

Whew.  What a relief.

What He Did

  • He offered suggestions on how sales reps could get better answers from prospects and
  • He talked about the importance of listening to the prospects and not interrupting and
  • Suggested “needs-based questions” to ask, to find out how the prospect could benefit from our products and services.

This experience and other role play situations made all the difference in understanding the need to not only ask the right questions, but listening carefully and gaining the prospect’s trust.  And the best ways to ask for the appointment or sale.

You Will Make a Difference

Do this with your employees or co-workers and you will make a positive difference.

If it is you, you will feel more confident and be more successful making outbound cold sales calls.

When I first began presenting on-site seminars for the BTA in 1994, role-plays were incredibly valuable to raise the comfort and confidence level for sales reps making sales calls.  One of the most successful role plays involved three different departments within one company.

How Did This Work and Why Were They So Successful?

I set the rules ahead of time.  No one could interrupt during role play, including me.

And they were successful because:

  • Sales reps learned from watching and listening to each other,
  • They were not critical of each other,
  • They discovered new and effective ways to create opening and introductory statements,
  • They learned how to ask open-ended questions
  • And seamlessly ask for the appointment or order.

Want more ideas about creating a successful role-play situation?

Send me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.