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The Prospect That Never Buys

“I have a prospect that says he loves our stuff and is always willing to take my call, but he never buys. What can I do?”

I’ve seen this plenty of times (it was usually happening to someone in the cubicle next to me)

Here are some of the top reasons why this happens:

1: The salesperson is too focused on “building rapport.”

Sure it’s true that people buy from people they like; however, the likeability factor comes after being a “valuable resource.” If your focus is on becoming friends, you’re barking up the wrong tree in my opinion. Salespeople usually take this route because they don’t want to be rejected. So if you don’t want to be rejected, why not re-word your opening value statement and re-focus your qualifying questions so that you and the prospect can determine if there is a problem to solve and a real reason for further discussions?

2: Speaking with the wrong person

This happens when the salesperson took the prospect at their word of being the “decision-maker” and never vetted them any further. You’re getting strung along because you’re not speaking to the right person!

3: The salesperson is afraid

Too afraid to ask the question(s) that need to be asked for fear of not liking the answer. But what’s worse: Filling your pipeline with prospects who “happily” take your calls but never buy from you, or finding out early that you need to move on to a new prospect? I’d rather find out sooner rather than later if a deal isn’t going to happen.

The REAL PROBLEM However Is:

No matter what scenario is causing the “hold-up,” the real problem is coming from not having a solid sales strategy. A step-by-step sales process that allows you the salesperson to know what the stages are in the cycle in advance (and no, I don’t mean your internal sales process) and how to get from stage one, to stage two, etc successfully.

Today’s successful salespeople rely more on intelligent questioning and less on the “gift of gab” to hit their numbers.

What to Do on Your Next Call

So here’s one way of handling this situation:

On your next call, after your pleasantries simply say something along the lines of:

“You know (Prospects Name) I really enjoy our conversations however I just learned that (major competitor of theirs or well know client) have (now mention a huge positive gain they had because of your product/service) and I can’t help but think this is something your company would at least want to know more about. Do you mind if we quickly start over and go through a few key points to see if we ever need to discuss this further?”

And now once you’ve gained permission, do a re-qualification (problem first / authority second) with laser-sharp precision.
And at the end of that call, you’ll know if you need to execute (move forward with commitment from the prospect) or evacuate (close the file and move on)

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.