“Thanks Jen, I have received the information, I just haven’t had the time to take a look at it yet. Do you mind calling back next week?”
“Thanks for setting us up on the demo, we’ll play with it and get back to you in a few weeks. We’re looking forward to it.”
“Great meeting, we’re going to huddle together and go through the info you shared today. What do you say we reconnect the week after next?”
“I’m sorry, my week has gotten away from me, can we connect next month?”
“It’s the end of the quarter, everyone is going crazy around here. I need to put this on the back burner until after the quarter.”
Are these blow-offs or is the prospect being honest?
If you’ve been in sales longer than 3 months, you’ve heard all these phrases and more. Sometimes they are honest and real responses to the prospects situation. Our prospects and customers are very busy. They have other responsibilities. They are inundated trying to get their day to day done. Evaluating another product or service just adds to their work load.
But . . . other times they are blow-offs. It’s the customers way of saying no, without saying no. They push us off. The customer tells us to call next month, to call in a week, to follow up after quarters end and we do, only to find them unavailable. We then start calling every week to follow-up getting answering machine after answer machine with no return call or email. We repeat this ritual for several months and eventually quit, wasting months on a client who never had a real intention of buying.
How do you avoid the blow-off? How do you avoid wasting time chasing a customer who isn’t truly committed to the sales cycle? How do you sniff out a blow-off from a legitimate request for time?
Never, ever, ever end a phone call, meeting, video conference or any other engagement that requires follow up without scheduling the next meeting.
When faced with a follow up request from your prospect or customer, close it. It’s a killer selling skill. Don’t accept open ended follow-ups. Give your prospect as much time as they need, but nail down the time and date. Put it in the calendar.
When a customers says let’s follow up next week, respond with, great let’s pick a time now. Doing this requires your prospect to commit. The idea of committing makes it real. It minimizes the probability your prospect is blowing you off. They realize they are committing to talk to you again and their integrity is on the line. If a prospect absolutely refuses to set a time to follow up and wants to keep it “open,” you’ve been given a wonderful gift. It highly suggests you and your solution are NOT a high priority and the probability of you closing that deal is low. Why waste time chasing deals with low probabilities?
When customers are serious, when they see the value in your product or service, when they believe your solution will improve their ability to meet their goals, they will participate in the sale with you. They will give you their time.
Don’t leave next steps open ended. Don’t leave the follow up call to a the wind. Ask for a commitment. Whether or not you get it will tell you almost everything you need to know.