After weeks or months of working a sales opportunity, seeing a prospect "go dark" can be extremely frustrating. You’ve put the hours in, sent over your best marketing and sales materials, maybe even had a phone call or a face-to-face meeting - but now you’ve got nothing to show for it. Why?
There are many more reasons, often very personal to the individual involved, but let's look at some of the most common reasons for drawing a blank with your prospects, and examine ways to avoid these failed efforts in the future:
You Aren’t Adding Value
All too often, the sales process for many businesses amounts to little more than presenting a list of facts and figures to your prospects - and any sales team guilty of this is selling themselves short.
Prospects falling silent towards the end of your sales process can be a cue to rethink the way you sell. Think about what value you can add to their purchase as a company and as individuals - your industry insights, experience and the support you offer, rather than repeating how great your products are. After all, they’ve seen that information on your website and researched your proposition long before they first got in touch.
If you’ve recently had a prospect go quiet, try re-establishing contact with them to offer value that you previously didn’t. Send them a helpful resource, ebook or white paper demonstrating your expertise, or invite them to a webinar or seminar that you’re holding on a relevant topic - something to show them that you’ve got the skills they’re looking for.
They’ve Gone To A Competitor
The likelihood of this will depend on your industry and what you’re selling, but in many cases a prospect going cold can be a good sign that they’re talking to one of your competitors. You already know that the prospect was looking to buy - why else would they have contacted you - so it’s unlikely that their silence means they’ve given up on the idea altogether.
In these situations, it’s important to look at what separates you from your competition. A race to the bottom on price is rarely the correct answer - instead, think about the ways that you stand out, the quality that you offer compared to them, and the value you offer that others cant.
Armed with that knowledge, you can re-approach your lead to remind them of why you’re the best, while also reassessing your sales process to focus on what differentiates you from the pack - making sure you’re never passed up again.
A Communication Breakdown
Whether the buyer’s budget has dried up, they're waiting on their manager’s approval, or they’re simply too busy right now - even seemingly interested prospects can go silent sometimes.
Often, these problems can be avoided by making sure that you qualify your prospects before you approach them. To help with this, you can follow the BANT process - Budget, Authority, Need and Timing.
Put simply, think about whether the prospect has the budget for what you’re about to propose, and make sure that you’re speaking with someone in a position of authority to make the decisions. You’ll also need to ensure that the prospect is in need of the products and services that you offer, and then think about timing - do you or the prospect have any deadlines that need to be hit that will affect you doing business together?
By qualifying leads in this way (oh and see our more in-depth Quality Lead Gen piece here) you can avoid many of the most common causes of prospect silence. Head over to the HubSpot website for a little more information on how to put BANT into practice.