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Inertia—Your Biggest Competitor

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Breaking_StringWhat do you do when prospects aren’t ready to move forward?

Does this sound familiar? You connect with a hot prospect, have several conversations, forge a solid relationship, identify next steps, and even schedule a specific time to talk. It’s all going so well. Then nothing …

 Radio silence: You know, when a prospect doesn’t call you back or return your emails. We’ve all been there. It’s frustrating and disappointing. But it doesn’t mean the death of your sale.

All Is Not Lost

Salespeople are not a particularly patient bunch. We want it now … or better yet, yesterday. Our prospects rarely have the same sense of urgency. When they don’t return our calls, we think the worst: They went with our competitors, decided not to move forward, or had no budget. They didn’t get back to us because they were uncomfortable sharing the bad news.

Step back from the ledge: 99 percent of the time, these aren’t the reasons. Our prospects simply get busy, go on vacation, get sick, are traveling, or don’t have the requisite information to respond. When we do connect, there are many apologies.

Then There’s the Opposite

Other times, they’ve decided to stay with what they have—the status quo. Boring!

You question whether this is the real reason or if they’re blowing smoke. Why have they led you down the deal-making path, only to switch gears at the last minute? Inertia is often our most formidable competitor.

What Next?

If you haven’t already, point out the consequences of not moving forward. How will the client suffer by delaying the decision? What will be the overlooked opportunities and unforeseen business losses? What results would the prospect get by implementing your solution right now?

Describing business results means you clearly define the impact of your solution. Share hard data that shows how you could improve the prospect’s business. Talk about the ROI other clients have gotten. Or better yet, offer to have one of your clients contact your prospect, and let that person do the selling for you.

Of course, you should have completed all of these important tasks earlier in your sales process, but it’s never too late to save a deal.

If all else fails, schedule time to reconnect. But don’t wait for that meeting to start providing value. Send interesting articles or offer to connect your prospect with someone he needs to know. Stay front and center, and don’t burn any bridges.

Your goal is to be the only person your prospects contact when the inertia disappears and they’re ready to move forward.

Connect with No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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What is your next step when a prospect isn’t ready to move forward?

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