Yes or No, I just need to know!

Follow-up calls, yes or no I just need to knowI just left a networking event at the Chamber of Commerce this morning. At these events I always give a free sales tip when it is my time to speak.  Today’s tip was “you have to make that next call.”

It’s true if you don’t make that next call no one  else will.

After the meeting several people came up to me to thank me for the tip and they brought up the next logical question. How do you know when to stop calling?

Does this sound like you?

“I keep calling  this solid prospect that definitely needs my product yet they will not return my call.”

This is a very common problem that I cover in my Atlanta Sales Training classes. How do you know when it is time to stop calling? How do you know if a lead is dead if your prospect will not pick up the phone or send you an email?

Let’s look at this from your prospects point of view. There are probably a couple of reasons they are not returning your calls.

  1. They might not know anything new about your project so they don’t want to return the call yet. (“I’ll call him when I need him.”)
  2. They may be very busy. (This is typically not the reason, so don’t think that this is the reason.)
  3. More often than not – The project has been delayed, cancelled, or awarded to another firm and they are AFRAID to tell you no.

That’s right. Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, so it is easier just to ignore your call. Their thinking is, eventually you will stop calling and they never have to tell you no.

And that is the frustrating part for sales representatives. Do you just stop calling? The answer is obviously no. You can’t stop calling until you get either a yes, no, or a  maybe. It’s pretty simple this prospect is either cold, medium, or hot. But until you can define what you have you must keep calling.

My suggestion is to change the message that you are leaving the prospect on their voicemail or email.

Change it from:

“This is David, I’m just following-up to see if  we are preceding…”

Change it to:

“This is David, I haven’t heard from you, I feel like I’m bugging you but could you please tell me if this project is moving forward. It is really okay if it isn’t I just need to know…”

A sales reps time is valuable. And by clogging up your prospects voicemail you are technically wasting their time. But in the end they need to tell you yes, no, or maybe.

Keep calling  just change your message. If it really is a no then you need to know. Nothing is worse for either the rep or the prospect than another call that is just wasting everyone’s time.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

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