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When A Client Goes Dark, Do This

08.15.17   |   Job Search & Career   |   John Barrows, Owner at JBarrows Sales Training

John Barrows-What to do when a client goes dark
 

Your 4 Step Approach to Re-Engage a Quiet Prospect
 

Have you ever had a client go dark on you? Who hasn’t? I bet everyone reading this post can think of at least a few prospects or clients you’re working with right now that have gone dark...and you have no idea why.

You’ve done a bunch of work for the client. You’ve sent information, given them the demo…gave more team members a demo, offered a free trial, customized the proposal, and applied discounts, etc. They told you they were a serious buyer, but when the date of their decision arrived…they were nowhere to be found.

Maybe, at first, you gave them the benefit of the doubt, and waited an extra day before following up. Then, I’m betting you called them multiple times, left voicemails, and sent emails with no response, only feeling frustrated and disappointed by the lack of communication.

Just like you, I’ve been there and used to send my “Last Attempt” email that was pretty direct with a negative tone, but I never got a positive response.

Then I started sending a “Professional Courtesy” email that called them out on being unprofessional, asking them to at least have the courtesy to send me a response one way or another. This approach got me a 100% response rate, but about 70% of the time it was negative.

I used to tell people about this type of email, but unfortunately some reps started sending it to people who hadn’t responded after only one or two emails. They would quickly get in trouble with their boss when the prospect would send their manager an email saying, “Who the hell do your reps think they are?” Needless to say, I don’t tell people about that approach any more.

I’m now using a new approach that I feel confident telling people about it since not only has it gotten me a 100% response rate (20/20) but all of the responses have been positive.

How To Get A Response From Quiet Prospects:
 

  • If the prospect or client commits to a meeting or to making a decision by a specific date and that date comes and goes with no response, send them your typical “Sorry we missed each other yesterday, let me know when you want to reschedule,” email the following day.
     
  • If they don’t respond to it, reply all to that email a day or two later and be more direct by saying something like, “When are you free to reschedule our call? I am free at x, y, and z times.”
     
  • If they don’t respond to that one, again reply all to the same string a few days later and say something like, “Are you still interested in continuing our discussions? Let me know either way so I don’t continue with unnecessary follow-up.”
     
  • Finally, on the 4th or 5th attempt over the course of 2 to 3 weeks reply all to the same string (you need to make sure they see you’ve tried to reach out multiple times), erase the original subject line, and write “Did I lose you?” in the subject line and don’t write anything in the body of the email. The next thing they see when they open the email should be your signature line and then the 4 to 5 e-mails you have tried to send previously.

“Did I lose you?”
 

“Did I lose you?” That’s it. It sounds too simple to work but you’d be amazed how effective it is. I’ve told this to a bunch of reps in my trainings and every time I do someone sends one of these emails to a prospect they have been trying to get in touch with forever and they respond almost immediately.

I don’t know why it’s so effective, but I think it’s due to the simplicity and the realness factor. I find that the harder I try to say the perfect thing, the lower my response rates are. The more I speak in plain English and try to relate in a real way, the higher my response rates are. People buy from people, they don’t buy from the perfect pitch, script, or canned demo. The more real and transparent you are with them, the more real and transparent they will be with you.
 


John Barrows Sales TrainingJohn Barrows currently provides sales training and consulting services to some of the world’s fastest growing companies like Salesforce.com, Linkedin, DropBox, and many others. His previous experience spans across all aspects of sales at every level, from making 400 cold calls a week as an Inside Sales Rep to a VP of Sales at his first start up that was sold to Staples. Get the best sales resources at jbarrows.com and connect with John on LinkedIn.



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