In a recent workshop, a participant shared this challenge:
Ten days earlier she had spoken to a prospect she has wanted to work with for years. It was a great conversation and the prospect did agree to take the next step – move into the discovery stage of sharing corporate information and creating an action plan. A detailed questionnaire was sent to the prospect to get things started. Sitting in my workshop, the business owner recognized that she was avoiding following up on that questionnaire.
Whenever she thought about calling the prospect she visualized interrupting him, that he would still be working on the questionnaire – or not even have started it; that her call would seem pushy and aggressive.
My advice … follow up immediately. While the prospect may not have completed the questionnaire in 10 days, a follow up call will confirm the questionnaire has been received and also provide support to the prospect if they are struggling with any of the questions.
Much to my delight, the participant did what I suggested … and let me know the outcome. Here’s how she quoted the prospect’s reaction to her call “so glad you took the initiative to call me. I am looking for someone who understands how to build relationships”.
As prospects move through your sales process, you need to take full responsibility for being their guide. Remember that all of us are overwhelmed, all of us have too much to do. When a prospect does not respond to your proposal or your demo or your white paper, that doesn’t mean they’re not interested. It means they are busy and perhaps wanting you to illustrate how much you want their business!
Still hesitating? Perhaps this will help. The word “responsible” comes from the Latin “respondere” and since 1690 has meant reliable, trustworthy. When we take responsibility for following up with our propects, we prove we can be trusted. And this is exactly how long-lasting business relationships are created.