Frustrating, isn’t it?
You know your product or service is a perfect fit for a prospect’s business.
You know they’re suffering with a problem that you can solve.
You also know they’ve got the money to invest.
Tick, tick, tick.
A perfect prospect who you’d love to get signed up, with a good chance of doing just that.
If they see things your way, they’ll buy what you’re selling at the drop of a hat.
You type in the number, it rings a few times and then they pick up.
You do your job to perfection: your tonality is great, you ask all the right questions and - most important of all - you genuinely listen to what they have to say.
Then, at that vital moment, you ask The Million Pound question.
But for reasons out of your control, you hear one of the worst, most crushing statements any salesperson, BDM or account manager can ever hear:
“I’m too busy right now, call me in a few months”.
All that hard work generating the lead in the first place, the research, the anticipation, the time on the call, and then... those words you’d prayed not to hear, painfully whispered right into your eardrum.
For anyone reading this who’s not in sales, that's why the job is so hard.
Time and time again, people who should be listening to what you have to say don’t want to and conversely, the people who aren’t that much of a fit are keen as mustard.
So what can you do to change your fortunes and turn some of those pusher backers into, “Ok, I’m interested” kind of people?
Let’s start by looking at what you shouldn’t do.
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Whatever you do, DON’T say this
Hearing “Call me in a few months” can be a real killer.
The thing is, that doesn’t mean the opportunity is dead - it’s still very much there to be had.
They’re still a good fit for your business.
They’ve still got the problem you can solve.
And unless they do something stupid or go on a massive, company-card-fuelled bender in Vegas, they’ve still got the money to invest.
So the thing you absolutely shouldn’t do is kill a live opportunity by being pushy.
“But we do this for your competitor!”
“So are you saying you don’t have such-and-such problem?”
“But Sir, the whole thing just becomes a false economy. You waste another 3 months with this problem going on it will cost you another £X!”
In sales as in love, as soon as you become desperate, you become unattractive.
Of course you’re desperate to hit your target, grow the business and earn some commission, but you have to remember that that doesn't mean your prospect is desperate for your services.
So now, as a team, it’s your job to make them desperate.
So, what should I say?
We’ve written at great length about sales and marketing alignment on this website.
It’s a bit of a naff buzzword in all honesty, but the concept is absolutely bang on:
- Your sales team can’t fulfill their potential if they don’t work closely with marketing.
- Your marketing team can’t generate and nurture quality leads if they’re not using the insights of the sales team.
So as soon as someone says, “Look, I’m too busy at the moment, can you call me in a few months?”, you’ve got two options:
The first one is you make a polite note in your CRM, leave them for a few months and call them back, probably to get told the same thing again.
Fruitless, pointless and a waste of your time.
The other option is to see this as a new kind of opportunity.
You’ve now got two or three months to warm them up and create that desperation in their minds that they need what you’re selling, or at least do enough work to plant the seed in their mind so that they're up for a better conversation next time around.
Of course, you can’t do that over the phone now - and this is where the marketing team comes in.
The perfect response, is therefore something along the lines of:
“Absolutely, FIRSTNAME. In the meantime, we write a lot of great content for [their job role] about [xyz problem they have] so would you mind if I kept in touch via email?.”
It’s very rare that someone will say “No”.
You're then effectively building a mailing list of prospects for your marketing team, who can help you to warm them up.
How can marketing help to warm up prospects?
Content marketing is one of - if not the - best ways to nurture any lead from a “Hmm, maybe” to an “Ok, now I’m listening”.
In a completely inoffensive and informal way, you can get ideas into your prospects heads and make them realise exactly what you need them to know in order for them to consider buying.
Get your content right and that call in a few months time won’t be greeted with a “Who?”, it will be greeted with an “Ah yes, I remember.”
The process starts by identifying what the key challenges are you can help to solve for people.
Then, work with your marketing team to create content along those lines, not mentioning your product or service at all, just genuinely helping your prospects in a way that links to what you do.
When you’ve got some quality content on your site which is relevant to your prospects’ challenges, your marketing team can create a workflow of emails that, once created, goes out to your prospects over the coming weeks and months.
This workflow will answer some of their biggest questions while simultaneously building awareness and trust.
As soon as you get that all-important email address from someone, simply add them into the workflow.
Every time a piece of content goes out, you’re politely putting the following things right in front of your prospects’ face:
- Your company name
- Your logo
- Your name
- A link to your website
- Your key messages
This acts as a reminder to prospects that you exist.
Even if they never really read the content and just have a bit of a look every now and again, the chance of them knowing who you are in a few months time when you call back shoots up significantly.
And if they do read the content, that’s an added bonus because you’re also educating them about challenges you can solve which they might not have even realised they had.
When your task pops up in a few months time, you’ll also know how warm the call is likely to be.
Some will have unsubscribed; those people probably never would have bought from you, anyway.
Most though will have opened some emails, read a few of your pieces and will know what your business is all about.
This gives you a much greater chance of finishing the call you started three months ago with the outcome you desire, rather than another, disheartening push back.
Want to learn more about using marketing to nurture leads and close more deals? The free guide below is a great place start.