Even if your team has a funnel full of real opportunities and they’re focused on their three weekly dials they will still end up with loose ends at the edges of their funnel that can feed their Hopium addiction.
Support your salespeople by coaching them to not burn a bunch of mental and emotional energy on prospects who ghost them. At the same time, life happens to us and our prospects, so encourage your team to tie off those loose ends on a semi-regular basis.
Pick a time frame that would be relevant to your prospects. That could be end of the quarter, that could be Fall because they want solutions for winter or Spring because you’re selling to prospects who do most of their business in the summer.
Then back your sales team up an have them start their “loose ends” communications so you don’t unintentionally cause conflict with your operations/install/delivery teams by dropping a bunch of work on them that they will struggle to deliver on. For example if your typical delivery window is four weeks have your sales team start their communications six to eight weeks out from the end of the time frame you selected (like the end of the quarter).
Encourage your team to tie up loose ends with an email or phone call to their identified prospects. That message might sound like, “Prospect. Been a while since we last spoke. It’s getting to the end of the quarter and I’m tying up loose ends. When we last spoke we were working on a solution to Pain 1 and Pain 2. If this is a dead conversation that’s okay. If not our next step is a brief phone call to reconnect and confirm how we move forward from here. Thank you for helping me tie off this loose end.”
Leave that message once or violate David Sandler’s rule “no begging (for business or appointments).” When your salespeople leave that message they will get one of three outcomes:
- Ghosted – their prospect doesn’t respond at all. Great. Put them on a drip marketing campaign (staying within appropriate anti-spam laws) and move on.
- Close file – prospect responds with “this is a dead conversation” or a simile. Great. No now doesn’t mean no forever. Coach your salespeople who get this response to circle back and ask if/when their prospect would like to reconnect because “business changes regularly.”
- Close sale – prospect responds with “oh, this slipped off my desk. Yes, I do want to move forward.” Great. Coach your salespeople to define what the future looks like from here then get their prospect’s commitment that they are comfortable with that future to reduce the chances of their prospect backing out after committing to buy.
A prospect might respond with “I’m interested… send me another quote,” which your salesperson can address by owning their process and either disqualifying a tire kicker or confirming next steps with a real prospect.
No one, especially in a B2B context invites a salesperson in without a reason, but reasons and people change. Even the freest full funnel will have loose ends every now and then. Make tying off those loose ends a part of your accountability conversations with your salespeople and they’ll close more, more often.
Until next time… go lead.