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When Your Prospects’ Silence is Deafening

Author: Kendra Lee

One of the biggest challenges in selling is trying to keep contacts engaged when you’re prospecting. Business owners and C-level executives often have too much going on, which causes delays in scheduling meetings and making decisions. Even the most high-priority projects can fall by the wayside.

That means when you’re prospecting, your message has to be doubly compelling to catch their attention. So, what do most salespeople do? They try to lay out all their goodies to show the value in setting an appointment with them.

But what does that accomplish? Silence.

Suddenly you’re sending a company overview in an email attachment to give your prospect a flavor for the company and how you can help. When they don’t respond, you follow-up with a detailed case study so they can learn more, or maybe you send a solution overview because you suspect they have a specific problem.

More silence.

What happened?

Serving Up Too Much

You gave away too much. As one client of mine explains it, you spilled your candy on the floor in the lobby. All the yummy stuff is gone.

There’s a fine line between providing a prospect with information that will peak their interest and giving out vital information that they could potentially run with on their own. Giving away too much results in contacts having little interest or need to follow up. And that results in – you guessed it – total silence.

And of course, frustration for you.

When you spill your candy on the lobby floor and give away all the good stuff, it leaves your prospect with little reason to take your next call. If they already know all the details, why should they waste their time?

As a salesperson, you have to strike a balance between providing the right information and peaking your contact’s interest enough that they want to talk with you. Hold back on the company overview, solutions overview and case study attachments in your emails. Don’t mention every solution you offer and the special discount in your voicemail.

Instead, create a bit of anticipation.

Everyone Loves A Good Mystery

Don’t let prospects see what candy you have in your brown bag. They don’t care yet because they may not even know if they’re hungry. You haven’t had a chance to talk about their needs. You’ve only guessed at the business situation they might have that you could solve.

When you send them a solutions overview, they look at it like any other catalogue that came to their home in the mail. They glance through it, looking at the pictures then reading a few headings and some colored sentences. After 3 minutes at best, your the glossy solutions overview gets deleted because they don’t know how it relates to them.

That’s if your prospect looks at it at all. If it came in an email, it probably didn’t make it past his glimpse factor. Delete. More silence.

Adding a bit of mystery and anticipation to your prospecting is one of the most effective ways to get prospects engaged.

By holding back some additional information to share in a later conversation, you keep prospects interested in continuing the discussion to learn more. The mystery has to be compelling enough to take your call, or better yet, make them email or call with you.

Relationship Building

Perhaps you stress that you have an idea to share related to a business issue you suspect they’re grappling with, or some details about how another client addressed a similar challenge. Don’t disclose the valuable ideas and details in an email or voicemail. Only share little bits of information until your prospect can spend some quality time with you. Peak their interest by creating some anticipation and mystery.

The point in prospecting is to get the first appointment and begin building a relationship. If you give away too much information up front, there will be no reason for a prospect to talk with you until they’re absolutely sure they need what you have to offer. Leave a bit of mystery so you can start – and  continue – the conversation. Suddenly there won’t be as much silence.

Have a prospect that you were working with who has stopped responding to you? Read these 10 strategies to use to get them re-engaged with you.


Kendra Lee is president of KLA Group, which works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Read more blogs from Kendra here.

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