When Prospects Go from Hot to Cold: Where You Went Wrong
When's the last time an interested prospect did a 180 and went from hot to cold seemingly out of the blue?
Did you make up a story in your mind of what happened? Maybe the prospect gave you a reason but you suspected there might be more going on. Below is some coaching for sales that will help you identify where you might have gone wrong in your sales pitch.
Break-Down In Communication
Prospects who show interest in your product/service and then go completely cold often means something broke down in your communication. This might be hard to accept, but it's likely something you said/did or didn't say/didn't do that turned this person off. The important thing to note is the way you communicate with prospects can be improved.
First, let's address the concept of what constitutes a prospect. It's been my experience that people think because they want to sell something to someone, that all of a sudden that “someone” becomes a prospect. This is not true!
A prospect is someone who has shown some interest in your product/service and is likely to become a paying client. You adding someone to a list or sending someone a message does not make that person a qualified prospect. Without interest on their part, you're still in the introduction phase of The Selling Staircase (a great tool if you need coaching for sales). The image below shows my 5-Step Framework for sales conversations. Someone becomes a prospect once they've reached the discovery phase.
Where It Goes Wrong
Recently, someone I know and trust told me about a possible opportunity for my business. She asked if she could connect me with the woman in charge so that I could learn more about the opportunity. I agreed and received a phone call within an hour.
After talking with the person in charge of the opportunity, I let her know I'd be willing to look at some information if she'd like to send something over. I also requested to speak with a reference that had a service-based business like mine so I could be sure this would be a worthy investment of my time and also my money (it was a substantial investment in the thousands). She agreed to send over the information and connect me with a reference. This conversation happened on a Thursday late afternoon. By the following Tuesday, she'd emailed me five separate times, called me at least twice and sent me a text message.
Hot To Cold
Here's what she did right and also where she turned me from an interested prospect to an adamant “no – you'll never get my business”. You'll notice my notes in parentheses as to what worked and why and what didn't work and why.
- Email one – Included the information I requested about the opportunity and a link to the website so that I could do some research (This is exactly what works – do what the prospect asks you to do, follow through)
- Email two – A story about someone involved with the group but unrelated to my request for a reference (Not something I'd recommend sending but if it's relevant or you can make it seem relevant it's ok to do)
- Then, Email three – A company newsletter (this means she added my name to her list management service without my permission – this is poor etiquette at the bare minimum and absolutely something you should not do)
- Phone Call one – voice mail asking if I'd reviewed the information (absolutely ok to do, I love someone who's willing to follow up)
- Phone Call two – no message left (this annoys me as a prospect for people to call and not leave a message or frankly for people to call multiple times in the same day – don't do it)
- Email four – She asked me if I wanted to buy and encouraged me to attend a week-long conference on the topic – even though I'd already shared that attending the conference wasn't even an option in my schedule (not the kind of message I would advise my clients to send as it could have been much more effective had she not asked me again to attend something I already told her I was unable to do – it shows either a lack of listening skills or a lack of respect for a prospect)
- Text Message – It stated that she'd like to get on the phone with me and wanted to know when I was available (absolutely the wrong type of message to send, never ask a client when they are available to talk – there's a much better way to phrase this that actually works – it's something I teach in the Sales Maven Society (an amazing community where there is coaching for sales) – it's not your prospect's job to do the work and find a time to meet with you)
- Email five – She asked why I had “disappeared” and not gotten back to her (again not the kind of message you should send less than 4 days after an initial conversation with a prospect, this comes off as desperate and frankly aggressive)
After email five came through, I promptly sent a message letting her know that I'd decided not to move forward with this opportunity and that there was no need for additional follow-up by her. This was my nice way of saying “Leave Me Alone!”
Don't Make Demands
You might not be surprised that she didn't take the hint. She sent me another email stating how shocked she was that I was declining her offer and that she would appreciate a phone call with me to talk more about my decision.
Telling someone you'd appreciate them getting on the phone with you is absolutely not something you should say. I teach about this and many other phrases you should avoid using in the sales conversation in my Language Of Sales Master Class. Instead, ask them if they'd be willing to schedule a call to talk with you. Even though you use the word “appreciate” it still sounds demanding and making demands of a prospect is a break in rapport.
Coaching For Sales
When prospects go from hot to cold, it's a BIG indicator that something you're doing (likely unknowingly) is causing this. It's time to change your approach. There's hope and there is help available to you. Learn the skills to keep rapport in place and seamlessly move prospects through the sales process. Would love to chat when you are needing a little extra coaching for sales! When you make it easy and pleasant for people to work with you, they often do.
I hope this helps you identify some of the areas you might be able to improve with your sales technique. Wishing you continued success.
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