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.
    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.
    Action Commitments
    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.
    Get the perfect follow-up voice mail messages in the valuable 33-page e-book Voice Mail Tips & Scripts !
    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
    Vancouver, WA
    “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.)


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!
    I ordered a dozen.
    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.
    Here’s wishing you a happy and cool day (cooler than the 91 degree heat we have here today!)
    - Ann


How to Avoid a Wasted Call

woman-looking-at-cell-phone-tnA successful first call requires planning and preparation.  That takes time.

And it is amazing how few business people make the time to follow-up after the initial contact with a prospect or customer.

The first call is wasted if there is no follow up.

In the last few months, I can think of at least two different situations where there was no follow up.

One was a bank where I have a personal account and the bank manager suggested that I transfer my business account to his bank. He said he would call to schedule an appointment. He never followed up.

Another was a piano store where I said I was interested in one specific piano and “someone” was going to contact me to follow up.

No one ever did.

This caused me to wonder:

Why don’t people follow-up?  I believe there are several reasons.

One reason for lack of follow up:  They don’t want to appear pushy.

It may be true that following up too frequently will come across as being pushy. We can cross that line by making too many calls in a short period of time.

Another reason for sales reps not following up:  They forget.

It’s easy to forget, considering how busy we are. We may have every intention of calling our prospect but we get caught up with unexpected problems we didn’t anticipate.

We find ourselves spending more time in meetings and stuck in traffic, and because we didn’t schedule the follow-up, it doesn’t get done.

This is a common dilemma but one that can be avoided by considering the follow-up like a scheduled appointment.

Lack of follow up is where a sale can die.

If you’re going to schedule a follow-up call, get a commitment of some type.

Anytime you plan on calling back, especially if you have given them something like a price quote or a proposal, find out what’s going to happen next.

After sending information to a prospect, one way to begin a follow-up call is with enthusiasm:

“After we spoke last Wednesday, I sent you the information we talked about and I’ve been looking forward to getting some feedback from you.”

Then wait to hear a response.

What NOT to say during a follow-up call:

  • “Did you get the information I sent?”
  • “Did you look at the catalog?”
  • “I’m just calling to make sure you got the price list I sent you.”

Reason NOT to ask the questions above?

It’s too easy for the prospect to say “no” or “I didn’t have time to look at it” and that will be the end of the conversation.

Just go on to discuss whatever you were planning to discuss if they HAD received or looked at the information you sent.

Following up works!

People who need to be convinced generally don’t buy until after the seventh contact. Most sales reps stop at two!

A great way to learn how to successfully plan your day and increase your sales:

Join my 4-week once a week sales training and coaching e-Course.

BTA Educational discounts apply for this course!