There’s one struggle that every salesperson encounters, and probably more than once — the qualified lead that’s tough to close. Maybe they never replied to your initial call or email. Maybe your connection started off with promise, but they stopped responding. Either way, you’re left asking the question, “Should I follow up, or give up?”
No matter how you look at it, you need to attempt to connect with a marketing lead multiple times. After all, it may take a little time to stand out on their to-do list or reach them at a moment when they’re not busy. You should never give up on a prospect that’s still open to the possibility of conversion, so in many cases, persistence is necessary.
First, Ensure You’re Contacting Them Effectively
As we said in a previous post, how salespeople approach a marketing lead is just as important as how often the lead is contacted. No matter the industry, product, or service, salespeople ought to be the following:
- Brief. Since your prospect is unlikely to be a close friend, don’t beat around the bush. Succinctly get to your point so they understand who you are and why you should matter to them. Don’t waste their time with a long-winded email or trailing voicemail. Share your value proposition, and be clear and concise.
- Helpful. Provide your value to them up front so they have a reason to listen. If you start off by asking for something, you’ve skipped over an essential part of building a relationship with them.
- Transparent. Authenticity is powerful, and misleading your prospect will have consequences for you as a salesperson as well as your company’s reputation. By dancing around why you’re actually contacting them, you lower the odds that they’ll be open to working with you and increase the odds that they’ll be irritated.
- Persistent. If you’re not talking to your prospects and nurturing relationships, who is? Don’t give your competition an opening. And as we’re discussing now, don’t give up on prospects that show potential.
- Respectful. Above all, don’t talk down to your prospect or treat them flippantly. Pay attention to what they’re telling you and know when to back off. Whether they’re simply not ready to buy or are giving you a firm no, don’t continue pushing for a sale when it doesn’t make sense.
What to Do instead of Giving Up
Fundamentally, giving up means you don’t believe you have any other options for pursuing a lead. That’s only true if they’ve given you a firm no. In addition to calling and emailing, here are a few other ways to connect with your prospect.
1. Try Social Media.
This is a simple way to build rapport over time and become part of the prospect’s conversations. It can nudge you closer to connecting, but know that this is meant to be a peripheral tool used to establish a common ground and start an authentic relationship. Don’t take your pitch to social media.
2. Share an Update.
You should always be striving to add value. If you’re having trouble reaching them, consider sharing information on things they may care about, like industry updates they should know, relevant news stories that pertain to their community or target audience, or even changes in your business offerings and ways you can help.
3. Reference Their Content.
Talk about what they’re talking about. Mention that you’ve read their latest blog post or seen their recent social media update, and then provide a thoughtful response. You can be flattering, but remember how important it is to be authentic. If the prospect thinks you’re only saying something to get them to buy, they’ll be less open to connect. But if you have new ideas and real recommendations, they’ll see you as a potential partner.
4. Pay Attention to “Trigger Events.”
Trigger events can include anything from the prospect’s company being featured in a news story to the contact themselves winning an award or getting a promotion. By sharing that you’re paying attention, you demonstrate that you care about the company, and that your interest in them is defined by more than dollar signs.
5. Reach Out to Someone Else.
If you feel that the business potential is there but you’re just not connecting with your current contact, consider looking at other people in their company. This approach can get you in front of other members of the decision process and show you haven’t given up on a partnership.
Ultimately, walking the line between persistence and annoyance is a balancing act. Everything depends on how attentive you can be to your prospects’ needs, pain points, and readiness. If a prospect makes it clear they’re not interested, then you need to respect that, and it’s time to back off. But if there’s still real potential for conversion, you shouldn’t give up. Start by making sure you’re contacting them as effectively as possible, then use the tips shared here to capture and keep a prospect’s attention.