Woudn’t it be great if every prospect became a customer around your timeline? Okay, maybe that’s a pipedream, since some of the prospects you call on will not be ready to take that next step with you. Here’s how to safely stay in touch with those promising prospects until they’re ready to buy, while insulating them from your competition.
If you manage a pipeline of sales opportunities, you know that a percentage of the people you call on won’t be ready to buy, due to timing or the length of your sales cycle. So, we put these prospects on our “callback” list to follow up with them at some designated point in the future. Here’s what that typical conversation sounds like.
You: “Now that I have a better understanding of your decision making process, it sounds like there are a few other priorities that you need to address before moving forward with this project. I certainly want to respect your time frame, so when would you suggest we reconnect?”
Prospect: “Give me a couple of months to clear off what I already have on my plate. Then I’ll be in a better position to discuss this with you.”
You: “That sounds fair. So, would it make sense for me to reach back out to you in about 60 days?”
Prospect: “Yes, that works.”
At this point, you thank the prospect and create a reminder to call them in about 60 days.
60 days later, when you attempt to reconnect with this prospect, you find out that, not only is this person no longer with the company, but the company made a decision to buy from your competition!
While there’s no foolproof method to prevent this from happening, here’s the missing conclusion to the prior dialogue that enables you to deliver value up until the time when they’re ready to buy.
You: “Mr./Mrs. Prospect, thanks again for your time today. Before we conclude our conversation, I’ve noticed that in the past, when I have attempted to reconnect with someone after our first contact, many things have transpired. Changes in their position, in their company, or in their life have a tendency to divert even the best-laid plans. Since there are so many things that can happenover two months, I was hoping that I could stay in contact with you without stepping over the line and being annoying about it. With your permission, would it be okay if I reached out to you occasionally with any new information about our product, as well as other resources that you may find valuable for your business?”
Prospect: “Sure, that’s fine.”
You: “Great! Are there any specific topics of interest or resources you’d like me to share with you? Finally, would you prefer I do so through email, your office number or your mobile?”
Now, you have permission to stay in touch with information they want, along with how to do so, instead of sending out unsolicited information that will do nothing more than aggravate and turn off a prospect.
Sure, they may not currently be in a position to buy from you now. However, that doesn’t mean they will be in the same position in the future.
A monthly newsletter, free trial, a resource they may find useful, information around a personal hobby you know they enjoy or a new product feature are several ways to deliver value during this “downtime,” while keeping your finger on the pulse of every prospect you speak with.
This way, when things change on the prospect’s side, you will be the first person to know before your competition does.