“Hello Janet. It’s Robin Green. Um…we had a meeting…um, ah…about 6 weeks ago. I’ve left you a few messages…and I hope I’m not bothering you, but you seemed real interested in our solution. You told me you needed to run it by the committee and then you’d be ready to make a decision…so I’m...ah…calling to get an update. By the way, I’m the guy that left his lights on and your assistant had to give me a jump…um, not sure if you remember me or not…but anyway, I was just calling to see if, um…you know…you wanted to revisit the proposal and see if you had any…ah, you know…questions. I’ve...um…talked to my boss and he might be able to knock a little off the sticker price…so anyway, just wondering if you wanted to talk about that…so…umm, give me a call at 555 555 5555. Umm…I hope you are doing OK and I hope to hear from you soon.”
If you are in sales, you have left that message, haven’t you?
I didn’t grow up in sales. I found myself in sales accidentally. When I was a teenager, I wanted to play for the Cincinnati Reds. Turns out, that was a pipedream. Then, I said, I’ll just be a coach. I did that, but one thing led to another and I woke up one day in sales. Not by intention. But here I was.
I liked it. Loved it actually. I loved the hustle of it all; the competition, the grind, the fact that it was hard. It did not come naturally, but I was good at it. Got lots of awards and recognition. But I almost walked away from sales entirely. In spite the good things, the parts of sales that I hated…well, I HATED.
The follow-up call. The check-in. The status update. Desperate. Begging. Needy. I considered myself a professional yet here I was, feeling like an insect. A pest. It nearly drove me out of sales.
The problem was I had a pipeline full of ghosts. At one point, they were real people and they communicated with me, and they were interested in what I was selling…but it seemed once I did my pitch and gave them my proposal, they turned into spirits. People who were once real…but where did they go? They still have a phone. They are still listed on the website. Yes, that’s their voice on the voice mail…but do they actually exist? I called and left messages and they never returned my call. I sent emails that went unanswered. I hated the way it made me feel.
Happily, I’ve remained in sales and figured out how to keep the goblins off my pipeline. It still happens on occasion, but by and large, my pipeline consists of actual human beings.
If any of my experiences ring true, here are 3 things you can do stop being ghosted and close more sales.
1. The power of No – Getting a no at the end of the meeting is a positive result. Sure, I want to get a yes, but if I am going to get a no, I want to get it now. Quick. Not six months and 7 “follow-up” calls later.
2. Understand Equal Business Stature – Too many salespeople are subservient. The buyer sits in the big chair, while I’m happy to be in the little one. We appear needy. We are overly polite and overly formal. Our words are wimpy and wishy-washy. Remember, you help your customers solve problems and achieve goals. They need you as much as you need them.
3. You must control the selling process – In every sales interaction, someone is in control. Unfortunately, I spent most of my sales career with the prospect controlling both the selling process and the decision. I was just following along. Hoping it would work out for me. You must control the selling process. Map it out. What are the steps? What happens next? What are the gates your prospect must go through to be a qualified prospect? Your prospect controls the decision. You control the process.
Sales does not have to be frightening. If you begin to employ those 3 concepts, you will sell more – and sell more easily.