“They haven’t called me back.”
It’s the most common response to “Where are we with prospect ABC?”
This response, “They haven’t called me back,” lands with a thud at my feet like a bag of rocks when I hear it from a seller or business owner. I can feel the disappointment when they say it because truly, they expected a callback, or desperately wanted a response from that ONE SINGULAR MESSAGE.
And then I ask the seller,
“How else have you tried to reach them? What did you say in your voicemails? How many times did you try calling? Did you follow up with an email each time? Are you connected on LinkedIn? Who else do you know at the company? Do you have anyone who can give you an introduction? Who else are you trying to reach in the company?”
And, though most are loath to admit it, they really only reached out once, MAYBE twice, before they subconsciously admitted defeat. I call this the “Hail Mary Every Time” strategy. Which, like a hail Mary, rarely results in the miracle you desperately desire.
Instead of these frantic lobs downfield, if you’ll stick with me here for this football analogy, think of prospecting as an “Offensive Drive” to march the ball downfield to score.
I’ve heard many sellers say they don’t want to be too pushy or obnoxious in their pursuit of a new customer. Still, as I laid out in this previous post, I think that’s a line of BS you’re selling to yourself because you don’t know what else to do, you don’t know what else to say, or you aren’t following the right process.
Here’s how “Marching the Ball Downfield” is better than those “Hail Mary” attempts. By attempting to connect multiple times and in multiple channels –
You stay top of mind. Your prospect becomes keenly aware of your solution and what you can provide for them. They may not need you today, but can certainly recall you or recommend you because you keep showing up.
They’re absorbing your message even if they’re not responding. Perhaps the biggest false assumption is that you’re not getting a response because they’re not seeing or reading your messages. There could be dozens of reasons they haven’t responded. They could be getting ready for a conference. They could be short-staffed. They could have 328 other pressing priorities. They could be waiting to see how you persist. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re not paying attention. Even if subconsciously, they are noticing how you show up and how you follow through.
You find the right channel to communicate. Maybe email isn’t their thing. Perhaps they never check their office voicemail. Maybe they’re infrequently on LinkedIn. One channel prospecting is rarely effective. Test your SELLING MIX for each buyer and have quality, value-driven messages, and sequences that meet your buyer where THEY choose to listen.
You can nail the message and unlock their value vault. Each buyer has their own unique Customer Currency and it may take several attempts to find the right hot button of need, value, positive business outcome, or reference. Varying your approach to speaking through your customers’ filters can help you define the conversational focus. When they respond to a specific message, you know which track to follow through with them.
They get a preview of what it’s like to work with you. Every relationship takes a bit of warm-up time and some people are quicker to trust than others. A solid prospecting cadence, showing up several times in multiple places with meaningful and creative messages helps your customers understand what it would be like to partner with you. If they give you their time, resources, and attention, they want to know WHO they’re working with before they jump in. Your go-to-market should mirror what customers can expect when they work with you.
When football players spend hours studying other teams and crafting specific offensive (and defensive) strategies around them, it pays off. Invest in learning where your customers are spending their time and develop a deep and specific playbook to help you advance the opportunity. Accept and understand that it will take more than one attempt to reach someone. Which can truly be to your favor if you create a strong and meaningful process with multiple touches.
Stop throwing the “Hail Mary Every Time” and think more about creating your strategic “Offensive Drive” so you can progress customers consistently. Leave those singular lofty lobs to your competitors. They’ll give up after one or two passes and leave the customer open and receptive to you when you keep showing up.
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!
PS – Need help developing the right cadence or selling mix? Pick a channel and reach out to us.
You must have visited our office just before you wrote this. I face this everyday. For the life of me, I don’t understand the mentality it takes to “not” have a game plan. It’s not brain surgery but I sometime think, it might help.
Lol. I just visualized the “Brain Surgery” Sales Meeting and how that would be received. These are ALL from real life exchanges with sales teams I coach. I should never run out of material, right!
Thanks for the comment, Ocha!