Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Procrastination. Never taking NOW for an answer!

Here's a situation I heard several times while reviewing recorded calls from salespeople.
Prospect: "We're not ready yet. Give me a call back later in the quarter."
Sales Rep: "Umm, how about the beginning of November?"
Prospect: "Sure."

Here's another.
Prospect: "We're still giving it some consideration. Just not ready yet."
Sales Rep: "OK, how about if I call you back in a couple of months?"
Prospect: That's fine.

One more:
Prospect: "Not a good time for it now. Maybe later."
Sales Rep: "Well, how about I check back with you at the end of the year?"
Prospect: "OK."

Notice the trend? What's happening here?

In each case, the salesperson is in no better of a position after the call than he was before it. Actually, he is worse off, since he has now scheduled a follow-up call to a person who may never buy anything. This is why some salespeople are always busy, but never show any real results. And it compounds over time.In each situation, the prospect validated the delay by suggesting a call back time, instead of focusing on the reason for any interest, and the delay.

TWO RULES
I urge you to follow two basic premises:
1. If you're ultimately going to get a "no," it's much better to hear it today than six weeks, six months, or six calls from now.
2. If you're placing a follow-up call, know why.Consider that if you allow someone to put you off, and you ultimately hear a "no" on the very next call (if you're lucky), you likely didn't just waste that one additional call. Think of how many attempts it might have taken to finally reach them. To illustrate the magnitude of this problem over time, multiply that number by the number of times you let some people put you off. Then multiply that by the number of times this happens to you per week. Mind boggling!

RECOMMENDATIONS OK, so what should you do? Again, let's find out why they say what they do. Don't dwell on the "when" of a call back; instead focus on WHY they feel a call back would even be necessary.
Let's take each of the examples and provide better responses.
Prospect: "We're not ready yet. Give me a call back later in the quarter."
Sales Rep: "I'll be happy to give you a call back. What will make that a better time for you? What will have to happen for you to move on it?"

Prospect: "We're still giving it some consideration. Just not there yet."
Sales Rep: "I see. What is it that you are considering?"

One more:
Prospect: "Not a good time for it now. Maybe later."
Sales Rep: "Hmm, what would make later a better time?"

Notice, again, that we're trying to understand the reason for the delay. And we're using their terms whenever possible.
And don't think that this approach is pushy; it's simply direct. If there is a future event that would make later a better time for them, so be it. Let's just find out what it is.

Feel free to pass this on and that goes for the Gobshites that copy and paste from this blog in Nottingham.
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