It starts with an email. Well, not really an email from you, but an email from marketing made to look like it was from you. That email ended up in a spam filter, and your prospective client deleted it, along with a few more that looked a lot like it. This is the starting point of the experience, and it offers no real chance for the establishing of a relationship.
It continues with another email. Like the email before it, there are links, the clicking of which is alleged to provide an indication of honest to goodness interest in you and your company. So far, the experience hasn’t been too great for you or your prospective client.
In an act of desperation, you call your prospective client, and you leave a message asking them to call you back and leaving your phone number. For some reason, you have decided to give the task of connecting with you to the person you are actually trying to sell. No one understands why they should have to return a salesperson’s call, and your client, unmoved, deletes your voice mail.
Back to email. Nothing. Back to voice mail. Nothing. Then, an answered telephone. Yes!
You ask your prospective client if you can stop by, introduce yourself, and share all the ways that your company helps their clients, along with the story about how they hung both the Sun and the Moon in the sky. Your prospective client, with the slightest bit of interest, agrees to a meeting.
You show up prepared. You have your slide deck, and you have your talking points. You also have questions you intend to use to elicit your prospective client’s needs. She says, “Tell me a little about you and your company.” You launch PowerPoint, and you begin at the beginning, history, buildings, locations, logos . . . your client, stifling a yawn, feigns interest. Then, you ask, “So, what keeps you up at night?”
Fortunately, your prospective client has real issues, and she hopes you can help. So she lays out all of her challenges. Lacking an SME, you take meticulous notes, promising to get back to your prospective client with some answers, and you promise to schedule an appointment to bring someone with you to your next meeting. Your client asks, “Can you send me a proposal and some pricing?” You, anxiously agree.
You send the pricing and the proposal by email, as requested. Your client gives it a very quick glance, and she leaves it in her inbox. She’s not sure she likes it. She’s not sure she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t know if she wants to show it to the rest of her team, or the leadership team who would need to approve any decision to buy from you.
So, not hearing anything, you take the bold move of sending an email to follow up.
This is a cautionary tale. There are good reasons for you to control the sales process, and chief among them is the buyer’s experience buying from you.
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