If you are a business builder who has had sales prospects going into the “black hole,” one (or more) of these five things is probably happening:
- You’re making it about you.
Want to test this theory? Check your email and phone scripts. How many paragraphs start with I, We, or the name of your company? Remember the mantra, “Be interested, not interesting.” Lead with connection and curiosity. You’ll have the chance to tell them how awesome you are later.
You’re trying to sell them stuff.
On average, it takes at least seven touches to close a deal; maybe twenty. Stop trying to do it in one. The right goal in this early stage is meaningful conversation to help you both figure out whether there’s a potential fit, and then mutually agree on next steps.
You don’t have a consistent process.
There’s a formula for what it takes to close a deal. You want to figure that out, document it, and use it. Not quite there yet? Start with general best practices. (I’m happy to help.) Next to people, process is the most important thing in your sales arsenal.
You’ve forgotten why you’re in business.
Stop to fully absorb your ideal prospect’s psychographic, why you are uniquely positioned to help them, and why it’s so important that you work together on this thing ASAP. Authentic generosity, clarity, and conviction needs to come through in every touch point.
Your language betrays your lack of confidence.
Desperate and/or repetitive messages such as “I’m just following up…” “Sorry to bug you…” “Please return my call, even if it’s to tell me no…” all show that you need them more than they need you. Even worse are icky-salesy tactics such as alligators, cheesy movie references, and anything that can be translated to, “What can I do to get you in this Prius today?” If it feels gross, it is. Don’t be that guy.