Dead Silence From Your Prospect: The Worst Sound Of All

Aug 20


Ari Galper

Ari Galper

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Could this be the worst moment in your selling cycle?

You've done all the right things with your prospect:• You've identified a real need and developed a reasonably solid relationship.• You've determined that your prospect is interested in your solution.• You've had a couple of great meetings or conversations that let   the prospect move the sales process forward.• You've supplied everything needed to  make a final decision.• And you've followed up,Dead Silence From Your Prospect: The Worst Sound Of All Articles as customary, by leaving messages  or e-mails to see if you can get a final decision

But instead, all you're hearing is dead silence.Not a word. Not a peep."I don't get it," you say to yourself."Everything was going so well, there's definitely a fit, we had a good relationship.Then, all of a sudden, nothing.What went wrong?

I know this feeling well because just about everyone who getsin touch with me (and I speak with dozens of you almost every day)struggles with this exact desperate situation --- wondering what went wrong,why your prospect has broken off communication, and, most importantly,what you can do about it.

The only person who can solve this mystery is -- guess who? Your prospect.You may have done all the "right" things throughout the sales process, but,somewhere along the way, he or she has never felt truly comfortable enoughto tell you the truth about where they really stand with the decision to buyor not buy your solution.Why not?Because in most cases prospects don't want to hurt your feelingsby telling you something that might disappoint you.

The problem is, something in your selling approach (your tone of voice,your attempt to create forward momentum, your use of traditionalsales language) told them that the most important thing on your mindwas making that sale.However, what your selling approach must do is let prospects feel comfortabletelling you the truth, all the way through the sales cycle, about exactly where youstand with them, without their having to worry that you'll feel disappointed.

This is the gap that makes it easier for prospects to break off communication,because keeping you at bay lets them feel safer and more in control.

Take "following up" as an example.When you call or e-mail to follow up,what message are you really sending?Consider this: that you're pursuing and trying to move closer to your sale.This triggers sales pressure that makes prospects protect themselvesby retreating behind their wall of silence.

Is there anything you can do in these situations?Yes, definitely.Don't worry, all is not lost -- but it's important that you look at how something youdid or didn't do may have created the situation.My guess is that, at this point, you'd like to hear is the "truth" aboutwhere you stand with your prospect, no matter what that truth is, right?

So, how do you get to it?

Not by moving forward, but by moving backward to try to repair the hidden break in the relationship. "I don't understand," you say. "How would I do that?" It's simple:

1. Just Give your prospect a call (avoid leaving a voicemail, and send an e-mail    only if you have no other options) in which you convey the following message:

2. "Hi John, it's Ari with XYZ company, how are you? John, I'm not calling about     moving the project forward or anything about the project itself. I'm just calling     to apologize...I haven't heard from you for a few weeks and I figured it must be     my fault or something that I may have done, maybe I dropped the ball somewhere     along that I'm simply calling (or writing) to see if you wouldn't mind     sharing some feedback so I can improve for next time?"

In other words, you apologize.

That's right -- you apologize because it's crucial for you to take the high roadand be willing to be told that something on your end did cause the communication breakdown.However, most of the time, prospects will find your apology so disarming that they'll stop worrying about you trying to "sell" them and will finallyfeel comfortable telling you their truth.

Try it, and let me know how it goes.

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