It has happened to all of us at one time or another. You had an underwriting prospect who had agreed to work with you. She even said, “Let’s get started!” Then she disappeared - with no warning - and you never heard from her again.
So what do you do next?
You begin chasing the prospect. But what you may not be aware of is that you’re trying to catch someone who doesn’t have any intention of letting you catch her.
Some salespeople are doing more chasing than catching.
You may have been taught to doggedly follow up with phone calls, emails, and letters; being persistent until you are told to stop. It’s an unproductive approach that leads to frustration and disappointment. It’s like banging your head against the wall and wondering why you get the same result each time. This one-sided relationship with an underwriting prospect is a big waste of your time.
When you get no response from various ways of reaching out to your prospect, you should understand that your prospect has gone into hiding. She’s avoiding you because she is not interested in buying underwriting from you. This happens for a number of reasons. Your prospect may have changed her mind. She might already be committed to a salesperson at a different media. Or she might have an alternative solution but doesn’t want you to go away just yet, so she strings you along... silently.
When you see this happening you need to walk away. No more phone calls or emails. If you continue to ask for one more meeting you could come across as being desperate. Leave the prospect and move on.
Selling takes insight and intuition to know when your prospect is interested. Will she agree to a second meeting? Will she return your calls? Will she be honest with you? Will she agree to take the next step? Will she lead you on and work with you until someone or something she thinks is better comes along?
One of the questions I’ve been asked is “How do I know when it’s time to let go?”
Here are ways to tell if it’s time to move on:
1. Your prospect isn’t open to sharing her information.
When prospects are willing to answer your questions about their needs, wants, and challenges, they’re telling you they have a problem and might need you to help them overcome it. That’s a good sign they are interested in underwriting. On the other hand, if they don’t answer your questions honestly, they're likely not really interested.
2. They don’t return your calls and emails.
If your prospect has respect for you, and feels that your information is worth hearing, she’ll listen to what you have to say. When this happens your prospect is showing signs she’s interested in you and what you have to say. If she is not getting back to you or is being vague or not telling you the truth, she is either not interested or is leading you on. You might need to take her off your prospect list.
3. Your prospect won’t set up another appointment or continue the conversation.
This is a very clear sign your prospect is not interested in you. If this important step is missed you will end up in the place that salespeople hate: voicemail or email "abyss." That is the clearest sign of all that they are not interested in you. If they do happen to pick up the phone, you may hear one of these:
“I will give you a call sometime.”
“I am really busy, can you get back to me back in a week?”
“I am still interested, just not making a decision right now.”
They’re either not interested or can’t tell you the truth about what is really going on.
4. They’re not willing to ask or answer your tough questions.
If your prospect is open to a conversation that includes her reasons for meeting with you and what her bottom line is, then she might be interested in you. But if you ask tough questions that she’s not ready or willing to answer and she gets irritated, she’s likely trying to hide her real intentions or is using you just to get free information.
5. Your prospect doesn't seem happy to see you.
When you meet with your prospect in person and she shakes your hand, smiles, and makes eye contact, that’s a good indication. We know that body language provides an important cue. If your prospect talks to you with her arms folded and answers you with abrupt “yes” and “no” answers, she’s just not interested in you. If you get a bad feeling, trust your instinct and politely end the meeting. However, when she asks you questions and keeps the conversation going, the chances are that she’s interested in you and might be open to another meeting.
Here’s the takeaway.
When you are sharing information about the value of underwriting in a respectful way but your prospect is unwilling to reciprocate, it’s not worth it to spend your time on a relationship that is going nowhere. All you get in the end is a loss of your valuable time.
Stop your phone calls and emails. Stop asking for “just one more meeting.” Stop acting desperate. Drop the prospect and move on. Instead of pursuing prospects who don’t want to work with you, invest your time in prospects who are willing and want to engage with you.