Recently, I received the following letter:
Jeffrey, I have some sales situations I can’t get past, and maybe you can help. I’m an insurance agent. I read your stuff — OK, I’m a fan. I’ve been getting blown off or stalled from accounts and managers who don’t make the final decision. I’ve given people the presentation and they are definitely interested in the programs and policies, but now every time I follow up, either in person or on the phone, they tell me they’re busy or they’ll call me back, but I never hear from them. Or I’ll call and they’re not in, and even if I have their personal cell phone number, it’s impossible to reach them. Looking forward to your help and your new book “The New Sale.” I will be one of the first to get a copy! Thanks, Corey
This is a bigger sales situation than “your price is too high.” Reason? You have no idea “why” they are refusing to take your call, meet with you or call you back.
They seemed interested at the time. You were certain they were going to buy. But when you leave a message for them, all you hear is “crickets.” Why did that happen? How is that possible? They seemed so interested. You even put them on your “sold” list.
Let me start by giving you a few real world, maybe even hurtful, reasons:
- Doesn’t have the money.
- Has the money but is too damn cheap to spend it.
- Can’t get the credit needed.
- Can’t decide on his or her own.
- Doesn’t have authority to spend without budget, prior approval or someone else’s financial approval.
- Thinks (or knows) he can get a better deal elsewhere.
- Has something else in mind, but won’t tell you.
- Has a friend, connection or satisfactory relationship in the business.
- Does not want to change vendors.
- Wants to shop around.
- Too busy with other, more important, things at this time.
- Doesn’t need (or thinks he doesn’t need) your product now.
- Thinks (or knows) your price is too high.
- Doesn’t like, trust or have confidence in your product.
- Doesn’t like, trust or have confidence in your company.
- Doesn’t like, trust or have confidence in you.
Major reason: The prospect’s perceived risk of moving forward is greater than remaining loyal to the company’s present vendor, or the perceived risk is greater with you than someone else new.
Most of these reasons will not be stated. They may be unspoken, but they’re real.
Here’s a list of remedies. Pick one or two and implement consistently:
- Make a firm next appointment before you leave the present one.
- Schedule follow-up calls and meetings while you’re in front of the prospect.
- Prevent deal-breaking objections by using video testimonials in your presentation.
- Use video testimonials in your proposal as proof and removal of risk.
- Use similar situation stories of success.
- Interact and connect by becoming interested in the customer’s business wisdom and product knowledge.
- Ask about their experiences and past history of success; build rapport so strong they will always take your call or return it.
- Ask for everyone’s cell phone numbers and offer yours.
Buyers you thought were interested going dark is common in sales, and the only way to overcome it is to prevent it in your initial presentation. Salespeople fool themselves that there is more interest in the mind of the buyer than actually exists and leave the conversation before a positive impact has been made — or worse they leave the conversation with an open-ended “I’ll call you in a few days” as you shake hands and walk out the door (maybe for the last time).
Important point of understanding: If the prospect doesn’t call you back or won’t commit to a next meeting, it is your fault, not theirs.
Important point of understanding: Take responsibility for what doesn’t happen, the same way you take responsibility when it does.
Reality of your selling process: You’re concentrating on the sale. You need to discuss and focus on “outcome” — what happens after the customer receives your product or begins to use your service. The prospective customer has to visualize ownership and value in order to feel risk-free enough to purchase.
Reality of your selling process: Stop blaming customers for going silent, and start taking responsibility for making noise — sales noise, value noise, outcome noise.
It will produce the sweetest sound on the planet — the sound of money.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books. His real-world ideas and content also are available as online courses at GitomerVT.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or gitomercertifiedadvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at email@example.com.