The number one thing you can do to get a contact to respond if they have gone dark is to make it easy for them to be honest with you.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you have a hot prospect simply go dark.
I’ve had it happen a million times, even when all the buying signals are a go! It can happen out of nowhere and it happens to the best of the best.
What we all have to remember is that there are a number of reasons it can happen: a change in priorities, stakeholder changes, a competitor is in deeper, you are simply helping them justify a competitor, personal illness or family matter, budget changes, etc.
No matter what the reason and no matter how painful the answer, it is always better to know what is going on than to twist in the wind.
So, how do you unlock this highly valuable information?
Step 1: Make it easy for them to be honest
So many times the biggest barrier to getting info is the fact that your contact does not want to be the bad guy. They don’t want to have to tell you bad news, whether it is a delay or the deal has gone south. Your job it to remove their guilt and make it beyond easy for them to give you the info you want.
Step 2: Leverage a subject line that is compelling
The biggest mistake I see over and over is a subject line that is inappropriate. The all-time worst subject line is: “Checking in.”
“Checking in” screams, “I WANT TO SELL YOU SOMETHING!” Your prospect immediately knows you want something from them and it’s something they either can’t or don’t want to give you.
Step 3: Get to the point
If you want something from a contact that has gone dark, fewer words are going to be more. There is no room to be flowery, apologetic or clever. Just get to it.
The example below is one I’ve used for years with a huge success rate:
Subject Line: Guidance please
Hi John –
Would be so kind to provide me some guidance, as I do not want to be a bother and will gladly follow your direction. Which of the below describes where we are at:
- I’m ready to chat now.
- Please check back in 4 weeks.
- We are no longer interested.
Be sure to check out tomorrow’s blog as it will continue this series on email prospecting.
Guest post written by Beth Mastre, Vice President Strategic Development for The Sales Hunter. For the past 20+ years, Beth has honed her email marketing skills, not only out of sheer necessity, but also because she is passionate about connecting with people and helping them succeed. Beth’s experience and knowledge on this topic is truly second to none. Her experience is invaluable to The Sales Hunter and to other clients who look to her for guidance and advice. You can email her or call her at 402-614-7080.
Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.
Thought I would give this one a try. Met with a big time prospect in November, had a great meeting with follow up items—-and have not been able to get a response since. Not sure what went wrong since the meeting went so well.
I got to say…your technique is pure genius!! Had a response in about 10 minutes informing me that the project is on hold and we will revisit later in the year.
I couldn’t get a response for months (email, phone, linked in) yet your technique nettted a response in 10 minutes. Pure brilliance!!!
I tried it and it works! No later than yesterday I managed to revive 3 prospects and clear some outstanding files. I got answers from prospects that had totally gone dark. No question about it – it works! Just try it! Thanks Mark Hunter
Great idea – I am guilty as charged and appreciate the insight. I just used it.