By Jeffrey Gitomer
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 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. 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. It’s because your prospect:
• 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 with out budget or someone else’s approval.
• Thinks (or knows) he can get a better deal elsewhere.
• Has something else in mind, but won’t tell you.
• Has a friend or connection, or relationship in the business.
• Does not want to change vendors, or 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.
The major reason, of course, is the prospect’s perceived risk of moving forward is greater than remaining loyal to their present vendor, or the perceived risk is greater with you than someone new.
Most of these reasons will not be stated. They may be unspoken, but they’re real. So here’s a list of remedies. Pick one or two and implement consistently:
• Make a firm next appointment before leaving the present one, and schedule follow-up calls while you’re in front of the prospect.
• Prevent deal-breaking objections with video testimonials in your presentation, and use them in your proposal as proof and removal of risk.
• Use similar-situation success stories.
• Interact and connect by becoming interested in their business wisdom and their product knowledge.
• Ask about their experience, and their past successes—build rapport so strong that they will always take your call or return it.
• Ask for everyone’s cell phone numbers—offer yours.
This may come as a shock to a lot of sales pros, but if the prospect doesn’t call you back, or won’t commit to a next meeting, it’s your fault, not theirs.
Interested buyers that go 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, leave with an open-ended “I’ll call you in a few days” as you walk out the door and shake hands (maybe for the last time).
Here’s one 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. Here’s another: Take responsibility for what doesn’t happen, the same way you take responsibility when it does.
The first reality of your selling process is that you’re concentrating on the sale. You need to discuss and focus on the 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.
The second reality is that you need to 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 author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers.
P | 704.333.1112
E | firstname.lastname@example.org