Following Up With Reluctant Prospects

Follow up with reluctant customersPotential customers will not always turn out to be clients, as many times in sales the other company will simply not need the specific product or service because of financial restraint or because they do not feel it is relevant to their businesses.

A sales management team may decide to leave these potential customers alone, as the resources that would be necessary to use in securing their business could be a deterrent. However, if a possible buyer is on the fence, a significant push from a representative can close the sale.

The first step to figuring this dilemma out should be to ask why the potential customer is reluctant to buy from the company, as determining why they don’t feel the need to purchase the product or service can save everyone involved in the process a significant amount of time, according to Heather Kivett, President of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

Representatives need to find out if the client is qualified to make the transaction happen, both in terms of having the financial capability to provide the capital and if the person on the other end of the line has any purchasing power at all, said the executive.

Managers need to convey to their representatives that a sense of urgency may not always be present with the customer, and they need to use their instincts and selective questioning to find out if the buyer is willing to pull the trigger in the near future or if they are stringing along the salesperson, according to Kivett.

If the reluctance remains prevalent and the client has the ability to make the purchase and is not stalling, representatives may have a situation on their hands where the potential customer doesn’t trust the product or the company, noted the executive.

Representatives need to find out if it is something that they have heard or read about the organization, and work with managers to fix this problem.

Another reason that they may not be willing to make the purchase is that they are not the ideal customer for the product or service, and this is something that representatives need to learn how to determine prior to starting the relationship, according to Kivett.

Either way it is important to note that there is logic behind the whole process.

“There is always a reason why someone demonstrates why they want to, or don’t want to, buy,” said the executive.

It is also important to note that even the biggest clients with the most purchasing power are not worth the trouble if the interest doesn’t exist.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” said Kivett. “If someone is reluctant to buy, pursue that but don’t stop your prospecting efforts in hopes you can turn this one person around. Many salespeople will try and make an impossible sale into a mission, detracting from everything else they are doing.”

If there has been a continued correspondence between the rep and the buyer and they have developed a rapport, a salesperson may want to open a frank conversation with the prospect about their reluctance, according to the executive.

“Put all your cards on the table and be transparent,” Kivett noted. “Always take an honest approach and have a mature conversation about what is holding up the sale and confront the hesitancy head on.”

Representatives need to extend the same courtesy to the client that they expect, as the transparency needs to go both ways.