What do you do as a business professional when a prospect won’t follow up? This was one of the concerns from a member during a recent Around the Horn session. There were many suggestions for how to handle this challenge:
- Always go for no. You don’t want to deal with wishy-washy people. You want to make sure you’re not wasting time with somebody who’s not going do business with you—it will save you energy because you won’t have to deal with somebody who’s not a real prospect, irrespective of any of the other qualifying questions.
- Call the potential customer—if you can get them on the phone, you can have a conversation with them. Remind them where and when you met and ask if they have any questions.
- Send an email and ask if the prospect has any questions—if you don’t hear back, it’s no. Make a telephone call or re-forward the email with the subject line “Did you get my email?” If they do not seem to be following up, use your judgement. You could ask if you can call them in 6 months, and if they’re real, this will provoke a response.
- Perhaps the prospect needs to be at a crisis point—they need to feel the pain. They may not be ready to make a decision, or maybe they’re not getting back to you because they have nothing to add to the conversation. You need to ascertain whether or not they have a sufficient level of pain to be in a position to make a decision.
- Don’t feel bad if a prospect doesn’t return your calls—it’s not personal. You may have found somebody who seemed very enthusiastic about doing business in the beginning, and then after a while, they changed their mind.
- Put them on a business newsletter email list and include helpful tips that keep you top of mind—always a good marketing tool.
The expertise shared during this Around the Horn session came from various professionals with years of experience, including an IT consultant, the owner of a trade show marketing service company, and a woman who once owned a company with her husband but is now entrenched in corporate America.
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