Silent prospect? Here's what to do.

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TL;DR:

  • Even when a prospect stops talking to you, it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. You still have an opportunity to win them back through the right engagement strategy.
  • If a prospect has gone silent, you probably need to try a new approach. Continuing with the same engagement tactics won’t do anything but irritate prospects and foster negative sentiments toward you and your brand.
  • Although it’s normal and expected for you to attempt to engage with your prospects, you also need to avoid situations in which your engagement efforts are misunderstood as harassment.

Every sales professional has been there before. You’re engaged with a prospect, and things seem to be moving steadily toward a conversion. Then, out of nowhere, the prospect goes silent. No matter what you try, they won’t respond.

Suddenly, a hot lead turns ice-cold. As the sales professional working on that prospect, you’re left wondering what you did wrong and what you can do to salvage the opportunity.

As most sales professionals might assume, radio silence is bad news for your conversion plans. But even when a prospect stops talking to you, it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. You still have an opportunity to win them back through the right engagement strategy.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your approach to silent prospects — including tips on avoiding this silence from the start.

Reasons why a prospect might go silent

Prospects may go silent for several reasons. But here are some of the most common reasons why this happens:

  • They’ve decided to go with someone else. Through their own research, they’ve decided that a competitor provides a better fit.
  • They’ve decided your business isn’t a good fit for their needs. As the prospect has learned more about your services, they’ve decided your business isn’t equipped to address their most pressing pain points.
  • They are reconsidering whether they need the kind of services or products you’re offering. This could be the result of their own research and internal decision-making or a shift in strategy that takes place over the buyer’s head.
  • Higher-level decision makers have declined to authorize a deal with your business. In this case, the buyer may have brought the purchase or conversion to the final decision makers, only to have it rejected due to budgetary concerns or other factors.
  • They’re taking time to explore other options. The prospect has decided to slow down their evaluation process to make a well-informed decision. Although this eliminates the possibility of an imminent conversion, it doesn’t necessarily mean your business is out of the race.
  • They’ve decided to focus resources on a different initiative. With their available capital, the prospect might conclude that they would get more value out of a different use of their budget.
  • They’re no longer with the company. In B2B sales, a buyer might leave the company or be moved to another position. In this case, your best bet is to identify another buyer to engage at that company.

One or more of these factors could be driving the prospect’s decision to go silent. Some scenarios are more grim than others. But regardless of why this silence occurs, your sales professionals should commit themselves to strategic engagement that aims to re-establish contact with that prospect.

Blog Graphics 12.07.2020

When to leave silent prospects alone

Although it’s normal and expected for you to attempt to engage with your prospects, you also need to avoid situations in which your engagement efforts are misunderstood as harassment.

There’s no set rule on when to leave prospects alone. However, when you’ve tried several different engagement channels for a month or more and still failed to receive a response, it’s safe to assume that continued efforts would be a waste of your time.

For some businesses, you can continue to passively engage prospects by keeping them on email lists until they opt out. Likewise, silent prospects may continue to follow you on social media, which will help your business maintain visibility with those targets.

In most cases, it isn’t wise or necessary to send a breakup email to a prospect. Doing so only closes the door to future sales opportunities. As slim as the odds may be, some prospects may end up coming back — so always leave the door open for a return.

Tips for preventing prospects from going silent

The best way to handle silent prospects is to prevent them from going silent in the first place. Your sales team can do this in the following ways:

  • Be responsive when reaching out, calling back, and checking in.
  • Listen to their pain points and address their needs at every step.
  • Make yourself available — but don’t pressure the prospect to keep moving the conversation forward. Make sure there’s a clear next step or call to action with any engagement.
  • Set a hard date to talk again. You should do this even if it’s just a placeholder. Send a calendar invite with an agenda.
  • Ask questions and provide answers. Be proactive in getting to know the prospect.
  • Engage with the conversion or sale in mind. Don’t waste anyone’s time. Stay focused on the larger goals.
  • Gather contact information for anyone involved in the buying process. This helps you re-engage if your primary contact leaves or goes silent.
  • Use CallRail to make sure each interaction is moving the conversation forward. CallRail recordings can show you where you left off with a prospect, giving you the ability to offer value and relevance in your next communication. This can be especially valuable if you’re part of a team taking turns engaging a single prospect.
 

Options for re-engaging a prospect who does not respond

If a prospect has gone silent, you probably need to try a new approach. Continuing to make phone calls and leave voicemails won't do anything but irritate prospects and foster negative sentiments toward you and your brand.

Instead, try these strategies to rekindle your relationship:

  • Switch up your messaging or value proposition. Even if prior messaging demonstrated early success, mix up your approach to see if you can appeal to the prospect through a new selling point.
  • Try a new engagement channel (email instead of phone, for example, or social media if you’re connected). Engagement through a new channel might grab their attention better than engagement they’ve come to anticipate through established channels.
  • Launch a new drip email campaign. Consider creating a drip campaign targeted to prospects who go silent — and add prospects to your list as part of a re-engagement strategy.
  • Share content or news that’s relevant to their interests, even if it doesn’t directly pitch your business. Even when the prospect is silent, your expertise and authority may continue to strengthen their trust in your brand, which could lead to a conversion in the future.
  • Request a meeting for the future, instead of interacting on the spot. Prospects may be more likely to commit to something down the road, especially if they feel busy at the moment.
  • For B2B brands, engage a different buyer at the same business. Your problem may be that one buyer is overwhelmed or distracted by more urgent tasks. Engaging a new buyer can help jump-start internal conversations that get your potential conversion back on track.
  • Send a message and say that you’ll leave them alone, but you’re available if they want to talk in the future. Don’t send a breakup letter, but let them know you want to respect their time and that you’re always available if their priorities change.
  • Send them actual mail (e.g., a letter, thank-you note, or gift card). Personalized offline engagement is a great way to mix things up, demonstrate that you care about individual prospects, and spark a new conversation.
  • Reference the prospect’s call history in CallRail. Call Tracking logs and conversion data can help you gather information that might explain why a prospect went silent. Through CallRail’s call recordings and sales call analytics, you can comb through the specific interactions to inform your next effort, potentially addressing pain points that you may have overlooked.

With sales prospects, silence is never golden

Successful sales depend on two-way communication, a sense of trust between the prospect and the brand, and an organized and strategic sales process. CallRail’s Lead Center can serve as the hub for this engagement, providing in-depth information covering each interaction a prospect has with your business — not just through inbound phone calls, but also through other engagement channels.

Silence is the enemy of this process. Take advantage of all available engagement channels to maintain a dialogue, move conversations forward, and demonstrate your brand’s value to each prospect. Sign up for a free 14-day trial to see for yourself.

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