Salespeople are well compensated, not because of the easy aspects of their job, but because of the difficult ones. Of course, deals closed is the main metric by which salespeople are measured, but it’s the work that happens in between those deals that makes the job of a salesperson such a challenging one.
Taking a deal from the prospecting through to the closing stage is no small task. There are thousands of pitfalls along the way, and even the most promising leads oftentimes don’t pan out in the end. In fact, when polled, salespeople often cite prospecting as the most difficult aspect of their job.
So what happens when you’ve worked hard to get a prospect to engage with you, only to have them disappear or go cold after one (or multiple) discussions? Is there a way to get things back on track without writing the deal off as time wasted? While there are no guarantees, it can be possible to effectively revive a prospect who’s gone cold. Here are four techniques you can try:
1. Look for a different contact
This approach likely won’t help you if you sell directly to the public, but if you’re in B2B sales and the prospect has gone cold, you should look for another way in. To be sure, you don’t want to do this if only a few days have gone by without hearing back – this could backfire and strain your relationship with your original contact. But if it’s obvious that you’re not getting anywhere and you believe your product or service is a great fit for a potential customer, then reach out to someone else. And in some cases, the fact that you’ve spoken to someone there already might help.
2. Research and personalize
Sending generic emails and leaving canned voicemails probably won’t work if a prospect has gone dark. But if you take the time to see what’s going on in the prospect’s world and personalize a message using your research, then you just might have a shot. You can set up Google Alerts on your prospect’s company (or the prospect themselves if they’re a higher-up), then reach out whenever anything of note happens. This not only shows that you’re paying attention, it allows the prospect to see that you took the time to personalize your outreach rather than just copy and paste from the other messages you’re sending out.
3. Do something unusual
Phone calls and emails can only accomplish so much. Sometimes, you need to think outside the box and do something unusual to get a prospect’s attention. This, of course, can mean virtually anything, as long as it’s not something criminal or anything that could backfire. But think of things like traditional snail mail, sending a creative card or some other gift, dropping in in person if it’s within driving distance, or even sending a singing telegram (if your company approves it). The key is to do something different to get their attention, show that you’re willing to go the extra mile, and, hopefully, elicit a response.
4. Throw a Hail Mary
If all else fails, then you really don’t have much to lose by trying a last-ditch effort to revive the deal. This is the time to pull out all the stops, whether it’s making a once-in-a-lifetime offer, making it clear that you’re breaking up with them, or using a trigger to create a sense of urgency. The key here is to understand that it’s a long shot, therefore it’s okay to take some risks. If it happens to work, then you’ll have brought a dying deal back to life. And if it doesn’t, you at least know you tried everything you could before completely giving up.