Are you being ignored by your prospects?
I bet that no matter how hard you try they don’t return your calls and respond to your emails. Even worse, I bet that one or two had forgotten about your appointment and never showed up.
I can also bet that it frustrates you like hell. At times you probably curse them for their lack of respect to you.
The trouble is that no matter what you might say, it’s a normal situation. Being ignored by prospects is a part and parcel of running a business. It happens to everyone and most importantly, you are doing it to others too (just look at your list of unreturned calls and emails in your inbox….surprised?).
Most prospects ignore you for a very simple reason:
THEY DON’T HAVE THE TIME FOR YOU RIGHT NOW.
It’s not because of lack of respect or anything else. It’s also not because you didn’t catch their attention (now, I am assuming here that your initial contact provides value and it is not one of those awful spammy emails. If it is though, read this post on how to do it properly). No, they just don’t need you right now. Simply.
Face it, you email or ring them out of the blue, hoping to make a sale. You think of your own gain, cash. Your prospects think of theirs and guess what, no match there.
Of course, you can use certain sales techniques to catch their attention. You could become known as an expert in your field (actually, this is something you HAVE TO do and fast!) or you can present them with so much value that they will have to call back. (BTW, I write about all that at length in my book, go check it out if you want to learn how to make sales and grow your business.)
In reality though, your prospects have their own agendas and unless they have a strong and immediaten requirement for what you offer, you are not someone of importance. Period.
This also means that in order to make the sale you will have to work hard and earn it, there is no other way. And you will be ignored along the way.
There is a trick I use to make sure that my prospects know that even though they ignore me, I am determined to make the sale. In fact I use this method to do not allow them to ignore me anymore (because, let’s face it, norm or not, who likes being ignored?) – I set the follow up right there, straight away from the initial email.
I wrote quite a lot about following up in business. If you have followed this blog for a while you probably know that I consider a follow up a missed sales opportunity. This is especially true when it comes to small business owners.
Most people running a small business, and usually those in the early stages of their career consider the sales process working more or less this way:
They contact the prospect
The prospect loves their stuff (usually in their minds that love equals to how much they love their work and what they do)
The prospect rings back and the business is done.
The trouble is, as you probably already know, it doesn’t work like that. In fact, only the first step is true, the rest is the fantasy in which many newcomers in business live.
Making a sale takes many more steps and it is usually you who do all the work (yes, you are not going to have that many prospects ringing you, sorry). A follow up, in my opinion, is the perfect bridge from one step of the sales process to another.
Going back to my little trick, here is what I do to make sure that my prospects do not ignore me anymore:
I never finish an email to a prospect with “I am looking forward to your call” or any similar rubbish. Instead I set the stage for the next appointment.
“I will contact you to discuss the above in the next 24 hours”
“I will give you a call in the next 2 days to see if a meeting is possible”
“With your permission, I will…”
You get the idea.
By doing so, I take away all the pressure from the prospect to get in touch with me, especially when they don’t need my services at the moment. At the same time, I give myself a permission to follow up.
And if the prospect is not there when I ring again or doesn’t answer my another email, I leave them another message setting the stage for the follow up.
I dedicated one chapter of my book to follow up. Check it out, you will find some incredibly useful information there.
A final note. Sales takes time. It’s easy to get people to buy from you but it takes time for them to do so. Unless you will learn to be patient, you will never make it in sales. Sorry.
How many sales emails you have never even read in full?
How many follow up calls did you make last week?
How quickly do you give up?