In sales, there are few things better than feeling like you’re on your way to a close. Maybe you’ve been courting a prospect for a few months, you have a great relationship and they tell you that they’re ready to sign in the coming days. While smiling and answering all of their questions with patience, you are internally doing somersaults. But then, things start to get a little quiet on their end. They start ignoring your calls and emails. Pretty soon it’s been weeks since you’ve talked.
Well, other than your heart falling to your feet, it looks like your once-hot prospect is suddenly cold as ice. First, have faith that this is a completely normal experience for everyone who has ever been in sales. Second, know that there are several things you can do to turn this situation back around, and in your favor. Here are a few strategies to try.
Change your mode of communication. If you’ve mostly corresponded via email or phone, try writing a nice note and sending it off in the mail. Don’t go with a hard sell here; instead, ask how things are going and touch on a topic they’ve shared with you in the past related to their industry. Stay away from writing things like, “Did you get my proposal?” It will come off as desperate. And desperation can be a major turnoff.
Don’t have time to write a note? Enlist the help of a hand-written mail service for businesses. Not only will this save you time, but you can even postmark envelopes to look like they were sent from your location. Genius.
If a hand-written note doesn’t ignite communication with your quiet prospect, try sending them a small gift, like a book. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with reading customer service book, The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon. If your lead is also focused on service, consider sending them a copy and include a small note on how they might like the book. The same can be done with any other book—even non-business-oriented books. If they are a fan of Dan Brown, for example, shoot off a copy of Inferno (came out in 2013). Your prospect will likely be so touched that she or he will take the time to email you a thank you note, there by re-engaging your communication.
Try emailing your prospect a few times to follow-up with short subject lines that include a question (call to action!), and their name. If that doesn’t work, back off for a little bit. Wait a few months and then touch base with non-salesy emails. For example, if you see a news article or study that pertains to their industry, shoot it off with a short note. Try not to inundate them with a note a day or even one per week. Give them some breathing room. You never know; they may actually want to close but are being blocked by higher-ups. Whatever the reason your lead went cold, have faith that with some effort they may turn around.
Yaniv Masjedi is the vice president of marketing at Nextiva (@Nextiva), a leading provider of cloud-based, unified communication services. In his role, Yaniv manages the firm's marketing and branding efforts by working to create strategies that drive awareness, strengthen the Nextiva brand and share the story of the company's unique customer-centric culture (dubbed "Amazing Service"). His responsibilities also include brand management, demand generation, advertising, marketing communications, nurturing programs and thought leadership.
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