Many of our prospects seem interested at first but then move on to other matters without making a buying decision. Or they go on temporarily with their current vendor. Are these prospects a lost cause, or is the timing just not right for them to consider? Could NO turn into YES in the future? It pays to keep them in your CRM/SFA system and stay in touch with prospects who don’t buy today.
When your prospect says no, does that really mean “No, not ever!” or does it just mean “Not today, but maybe some other time.” Don’t delete them from your CRM/SFA system; stay in touch to find out.
When I talk with sales reps about prospects, I always tell them to “move them forward, or move them out.”
This means that if prospects aren’t moving closer to purchasing each time you speak, they’re taking up your valuable time that could be spent on those having a more urgent need.
However, that doesn’t mean you should completely write off prospects who are not ready to buy. We all can share experiences in which we’ve been pleasantly surprised by that prospect we thought we’d never do business with – the one who calls and says, “I’m ready now.”
To make this happen more often, you should have a personal marketing strategy for staying in contact with your higher-potential prospects. Some of you are lucky enough to have a limitless supply of prospects in your universe. Others, however, have a finite number to draw from, and it pays to stay in touch with them.
Let me explain. There are two groups I’m talking about:
- The ones who are not great prospects for you today (too small, not qualified) but could very well be in the future. Although you likely won’t have them in your regular rotation of calls, you want to be sure they think of you if and when situations change at the company.
- Those who are qualified but choose not to do business with you. It’s in your best interest not to write them off.
Why They Don’t Buy From You
First, let’s look at four reasons why prospects won’t buy from you today:
- No need
- No interest
- No money
- No hurry
Those are the basic reasons you see in every sales book. Let’s break the “no hurry” reason down even further:
- They’re lazy. Buying from you would involve some work.
- They procrastinate. Who doesn’t?
- They are too busy with more pressing activities. (This also could fall in the “no need” category.)
What You Should Do
Stay in contact with selected high-potential prospects through methods that don’t require much of your time. Use the mail and send faxes or e-mails. Consider putting together a brief newsletter that provides valuable information they can use, not just puffery about your company and products.
For example, include tips and tidbits that can help them with their jobs. Of course, the suggestions should include the use of your product or service, but that’s not the main reason for the communication. A supplier of packaging products could send out a piece on “10 Ways to Reduce Shipping Expenses.” (See the end of this article for more ideas.)
The return on this type of marketing communication could be huge. And here’s the simple reasoning:
- Things change.
- Out of sight, out of mind; in sight, top of mind.
Situations at companies change every day: Think about the changes at your company over the past three months. If changes involve new needs and requirements, potential buyers will likely turn to what is familiar.
And when you’re in touch with them, your company could be the first one they think of when new needs develop. Plus, through repetitiveness, you build credibility in their minds. The more they see your name, the more familiar and credible it becomes.
Mix in a little smart marketing with your selling, and you’ll maximize the return on your time investment.
Implement Your Personal “Stay In Touch” Marketing Program to Complement Your Telesales
1. Define your categories
Determine whom you will discard and whom you’ll place into your system. For example, a category could be anyone now spending over a certain dollar level with a competitor, or people with a project planned out two years in the future.
2. Manage your prospect list in a CRM/SFA system
CRM/SFA programs make this a snap for you. Otherwise, getting organized may become a nightmare, and it will take away from your selling time.
3. Plan and execute your communications
Decide how you’ll communicate with your prospects and how often. Here are the ideas that I mentioned earlier:
- Newsletters, special reports or articles that provide useful content with an underlying sales message
- Post cards
- Emails with links to articles or videos that would be of interest
- Free samples of your product
- Handwritten notes
- Birthday cards – physical and e-cards
- Special items for very select prospects (I’ve sent prospects books on topics unrelated to what I sell but that I knew they were interested in.)
4, Follow up
Keep your list clean, stay in touch and have something of value every time you call. It’s a long process, but well worth the effort.