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Why you should stop chasing sales prospects

Top five signs it's time to dump them and move on


Have you ever had a prospect who agreed to work with you and even said, “Let’s get started!”  Then, with no warning, they disappear. You never hear from them again. The silence is deafening.

Of course you have! What do you do next?

Most likely, you begin chasing your prospect. You try to catch someone who has no intention of being caught.

Many professionals are doing more chasing than catching. Most likely, you were trained to endlessly and relentlessly follow up, keep calling and be persistent until you are told to stop. This outdated mindset is a one-way ticket to frustration and disappointment. Carrying on a one-way relationship with a prospect is horrible waste of your time. 

Be honest. Read the signs and take the hint that your prospect has gone into hiding. They’re hiding from you because they’re not interested in buying from you. This happens for many reasons. They might have changed their mind. They migh already be committed to someone else. They might have an alternative solution but don’t want you to go away just yet, so they string you along. The reasons are endless; salespeople need to see the signs and walk away.  Stop calling, stop emailing, stop begging for one more meeting, and stop acting desperate.  Dump them, and move on.   

Selling takes insight, intuition and discretion to know when a prospect is interested. Will they agree to a second meeting? Will they return your calls? Will they tell you the truth?  Will they be honest about their selection process? Will they agree to take the next step?  Will they play hard to get? Will they lead you on? Will they work with you until someone better comes along?

I am often asked, “What should I do when a prospect disappears? How many times should I email or call someone who’s not responsive to my communication? How do you know when it’s time to let go?”

Here are the top five ways to tell if it’s time to move on:

1. They’re not honest and open to sharing information. When potential customers are willing to answer questions about their needs, wants, pains and struggles, they’re telling you that they have a problem and might need you to fix it.  This is a really good sign they are interested in you. If they are unwilling to answer your questions openly and honestly, they may be playing hard to get or not interested.

2. They’re not willing to engage and return your calls and emails.  If they have respect for you, they will listen to what you have to say and trust that your information is worthy of hearing.  When you are successful at this, your potential customers are showing signs they are interested in you.  If they are avoiding you, not getting back to you, being vague or not telling you the truth, they are either not interested or leading you on.  You might need to dump them.

3. They’re not willing to take the next step, set up another appointment and continue the conversation.  This is a very clear sign they are interested in you. If this important step is missed you will instantly go to the place that salespeople hate, “voicemail abyss” - the clearest sign of all that they are not interested in you.  If they do happen to pick up the phone, you will hear, “I will give you a call sometime,” “I am really busy can you get back to me back in a week” or “I am still interested, just not making a decision right now.”  They’re either not interested or can’t tell you the truth about what is really going on. 

4. They’re not willing to ask and answer tough questions.  If they are open to a dialogue that flushes out their real agenda, reasons for meeting and what their bottom line is, then they might be interested in you.  If you ask tough questions that they’re not ready or willing to answer and get irritated, they most likely are trying to hide their true intentions or using your for free information.   

5. They’re not happy to see you. When you meet them in person, they shake your hand, smile and make eye contact.  Body language is an important cue and if potential customers speak to you with their arms folded and answer you with short “yes” and “no” answers, they are just not interested in you. If you get a bad vibe, trust your intuition and politely end the meeting. When your potential customers ask you questions and keep the conversation going chances are they’re interested in you and might be open to second meeting.  

When you are creating value, being honest, sharing information and showing respect but your potential customer is unwilling to reciprocate, it’s not worth it to spend your time on a relationship that is going nowhere. All you get in the end is another worn out pair of prospect chasing shoes.

Stop calling, stop emailing, stop begging for one more meeting and stop acting desperate. Dump them and move on. Instead of chasing prospects who don’t want to be caught, invest you time in prospects who engage instead of run. 

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Liz Wendling

Liz Wendling is a nationally recognized business consultant, sales strategist and emotional intelligence coach. Straightforward, practical and sassy, Liz’s innate gift is helping professionals transform their sales approach and evolve their sales strategies. Liz shows people how to discover their sales comfort zone and master the skill that pays you and your business forever.

Liz believes people need to stop following the masses and start standing out and differentiating themselves. Her super powers are designing customized solutions that deliver outstanding results. She enjoys working with professionals who are committed to kicking up the dust, rattling some chains and rocking the foundation of their business.

Go to: www.lizwendling.com or email Liz@lizwendling.com

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