What do you do when you have a qualified prospect that gives every indication that they want your solution but they suddenly disappear? It seems like they’ve fallen off the face of the earth. They don’t respond to calls, texts, or emails. I’m sure many of us salespeople have experienced this at some point.
This is where sales training comes into play because it gives you a set of tools to use in different circumstances. In this situation, you need to clarify whether in fact the sale is still alive.
One approach you could use is to express some vulnerability and offer to “close the file” on the sale. For example, “I thought we were ready to move forward, but it seems like something might have changed that I’m unaware of, and I should probably close the file.”
You could call this approach the “Takeaway.” Using this technique, you share what you thought, communicate your sense that there is a change in strategy or situation, and demonstrate your willingness and comfort to walk away. You give the prospect an “out” without putting them on the defensive. The goal here is to elicit a response while preserving the relationship you’ve built. Your ultimate objective is to ascertain whether the sales process will move forward.
If The Answer is No
If the client indicates that things have changed and they are unable to move forward, you know you can move on to the next opportunity. You may get insight into why things changed, and then you can determine the type of follow up that should happen. The Takeaway sets you up so that you’ll be able to shake hands and walk away on good terms.
If the Answer is Yes
If the discussion resumes, then the client should be willing to make progress towards closing the deal. This could be one of those situations where factors you have no control over have impacted progress: a change in leadership, a family illness, an urgent project, a financial issue. But it also could be that they have questions that they have been able to verbalize. You’ll take your cue on how to proceed based on their response to the Takeaway.
I think what’s most important when using the Takeaway is remembering that you are on an equal footing with your prospect. You’ve committed your valuable time to them because you had a solution that fit the prospect’s needs. They have given you their valuable time for the same reason. When something fundamentally changes, it’s better to address it to understand what might need to happen so that the sale goes forward, or the file can be closed.
At One of a Kind Sales, we believe training is fundamental to sales success. If you or your team need help in using sales techniques to close more business, contact us at 908-879-2911.