Here’s what to do when your “hot prospect” won’t return your phone calls…
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
As we wrap up our discussion on “pool selling tips,” let’s review what we’ve covered so far:
- I offered some good basic sales tips to use in any sales conversation.
- I offered some special dirty tricks you can use when you’re face-to-face with a prospect.
- I offered suggestions on how to talk MONEY and BUDGET.
- I also offered some suggestions of how to talk PRICE (which is DIFFERENT than MONEY).
Now let’s talk about what to do when (after you’ve invested 10+ man-hours visiting, talking, listening, designing and presenting this new “dream pool”) the homeowner says those hated words:
“Thank you. We’d like to think about it.”
Naturally, you want to be polite, and give them the necessary time and space to consider this important investment. But unfortunately, you’ve now lost control of the sales process. It’s 100% in THEIR hands. You have little choice but to wait and hope for a return phone call, an e-mail or a text saying “OK, We’re ready to move forward!”
But with every day that passes, your heart sinks a little, as you fear they’re thinking about giving the business to someone else.
It’s a lot like the dating scene,
when that “special someone” suddenly stops taking your calls.
The natural tendency is to try HARDER and HARDER to re-connect with that person, and try to recapture that magic. But as we all know, that just tends to make you look desperate, and serves to push them further away. So rather than chase them away, I recommend you:
“Go for the NO.”
This means (1) presume you’ve already lost the deal, and (2) let them know “it’s OK.”
Some people refer to this as “The Alligator Letter.” (“Hey, I haven’t heard back from you, so I presume you’ve been eaten by alligators…“) I like the light-heartedness of this approach, but it’s also just a little too close to the “silly” side for my tastes. So I would use something more like the following:
Hey <name>, I’ve left you a couple of messages, and haven’t heard back from you, so I presume that you’ve found someone else to handle this for you, or maybe you’ve decided not to go through with it at all. And I presume you haven’t responded to me because you don’t want to hurt my feelings.
Either way, I want you to know it’s OK. You’re not going to hurt my feelings. And I don’t want to be a pest, so I promise I’ll stop calling you.
Now if I’ve misunderstood, just let me know. Because I’ve really enjoyed meeting you and working with you, and would be happy to help you any way I can.
I wish you the best of luck, no matter what you decide to do.
(Note – you could use the above over the phone just as easily as you might in an e-mail.)
Now here’s why “Going for the NO” is a SMARTER approach than pushing and pestering the homeowner:
If it’s over, it’s over.
If it’s NOT, they’ll TELL you!
By letting go of this particular opportunity and putting it behind you, you can now focus your energies on more productive activities. And once in a while, you’ll get that wonderful surprise reply that says something along the lines of:
“Oh. I’m so sorry…We had a lot of things going on…Our kids were sick…My aunt passed away…We were distracted by the Holidays…We were waiting on a bonus check…” etc.
“We definitely want to continue with the project. Can we meet the week after next?”
I’ve seen this happen NUMEROUS times, to the surprise and delight of many a salesperson / pool designer. I hope it happens for you too.
To your success,
PS – I still have one more trick to share with you that will help persuade the slow-deciding, non-responsive prospects to contact you. I’ll share that with you NEXT WEEK.