Home > Approach > Best method for reconnecting with prospects that have gone dark?

Best method for reconnecting with prospects that have gone dark?

You book the appointment, do your needs analysis, present, quote a rate, etc...but the prospect needs some time to get approval, find the budget, compare current contract with other vendors, whatever. So you leave with an agreed upon date to follow up with them

You do your due diligence with following up, but the prospect is not responding to any of your methods of communication. Phone calls, emails, voicemails...anything. What next? I've heard of some sellers making a last ditch effort with a "gone dark" correspondence that's usually somewhat abrasive to get their attention (after all, there's nothing to lose).

What is your approach? - by gvass
You book the appointment, do your needs analysis, present, quote a rate, etc...but the prospect needs some time to get approval, find the budget, compare current contract with other vendors, whatever. So you leave with an agreed upon date to follow up with them

You do your due diligence with following up, but the prospect is not responding to any of your methods of communication. Phone calls, emails, voicemails...anything. What next? I've heard of some sellers making a last ditch effort with a "gone dark" correspondence that's usually somewhat abrasive to get their attention (after all, there's nothing to lose).

What is your approach?
Rather than focus on how to create a 'gone dark' reply to your prospect, since they probably have already chosen some other solution....take a look at what you did leading up to this point.

When you write that the prospect needs: (1) some time to get approval -- that says you did not have the 'right people in front of you who could make positive decisions; (2) find the budget -- that says you did not cover 'what their budget was for this expenditure' to make sure your product/service could be brought in within their budget; (3) compare your product to the competition -- that says you did not give your prospect reasons to believe your company has a better solution to his problem than either his 'current supplier or someone else'.

If you don't have the decision makers who can and will be able to make decisions and know what their budget is, why exactly would you present? - by Paulette Halpern
gvass,

Potential and current clients who have "gone dark" can be frustrating - you've invested a lot of time into the proposal process and you've done your due diligence. While this can be difficult to deal with, you always want to be perceived as pleasant to do business with, cool and calm. No one wants to deal with a hot head.

I think it's always important to remember that there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you aren't privy to. While it's easy to think that they're being rude or are blowing you off, perhaps there are other things going on - maybe the internal processes are more of a challenge than they anticipated (securing funds, buy-in from stakeholders, etc.)? Maybe they're just as frustrated (and even embarrassed) about the situation as you are?

Given all of the unknowns, I never recommend taking "abrasive" action - something like that is more likely to put a bad taste in their mouths and might close the door on future possibilities (how many times has a client engagement been revived after extended pauses or delays in business?).

Instead of being abrasive, I would suggest a direct but always pleasant approach. You could say something like - "I understand decisions like these can be complicated. I wanted to touch base because I haven't heard back from you after our agreed upon check in date. Are you still interested in pursuing this project? Please let me know if you need more time or if you've switched directions and aren't interested in these services anymore. If I don't hear back from you, I'll assume you don't want me to reach out and I'll wait to hear from you when you're ready. I look forward to hearing from you now or in the future."

With this approach, you've been direct, told them you don't want to waste your or their time AND you've left the door open for future possibilities. I've done this before only to have a client respond that they don't want me to lose interest - they're working on it but didn't want to touch base until things were secured.

Things happen SLOWLY sometimes and the business world is a small one. You DO have lots to lose if you think about your career timeline, your reputation and future prospects.

I hope this helps.
Stephen - by sfrenkel
You book the appointment, do your needs analysis, present, quote a rate, etc...but the prospect needs some time to get approval, find the budget, compare current contract with other vendors, whatever. So you leave with an agreed upon date to follow up with them

You do your due diligence with following up, but the prospect is not responding to any of your methods of communication. Phone calls, emails, voicemails...anything. What next? I've heard of some sellers making a last ditch effort with a "gone dark" correspondence that's usually somewhat abrasive to get their attention (after all, there's nothing to lose).

What is your approach?
My approach is a personal approach with a series of followups that cover personal and business interest. It's a system; a practiced system.

You owe it to your prospect to follow up.

Sales Statistics: 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect; 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop; 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop; Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts.

YET - 2% of sales are made on the first contact; 3% of sales are made on the second contact ;5% of sales are made on the third contact; 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact; 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.

I'm not familiar with the "gone dark" terminology. I do know that prospects are people; they have family, they have problems, they have hobbies. I would ask, what do you have to lose if you take a more personal interest approach? If your follow up consists of "are you ready?" "are you ready?' "are you ready?" even in other terms, well, that isn't a personal follow up system. Try a birthday card; make up your own holiday card; something personal to demonstrate you are interested in them as a person. - by patweber
You book the appointment, do your needs analysis, present, quote a rate, etc...but the prospect needs some time to get approval, find the budget, compare current contract with other vendors, whatever. So you leave with an agreed upon date to follow up with them

You do your due diligence with following up, but the prospect is not responding to any of your methods of communication. Phone calls, emails, voicemails...anything. What next? I've heard of some sellers making a last ditch effort with a "gone dark" correspondence that's usually somewhat abrasive to get their attention (after all, there's nothing to lose).

What is your approach?
I guess all I can recommend is to make your follow up calls reliant to the customers time needs.

I ask customers how long a decision like this would take for them to make, and make follow up calls according to that. I think some people (atleast in my industry) make phone calls at the wrong time and are perceived to be badgering/harassing their prospective customers. - by MrCharisma
Thanks all- appreciate the feedback and response. - by gvass
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