Buy or Die - when to give up on a sale

sales sales training Jul 24, 2021

It sounds a bit harsh, ‘Buy or Die’. But it is a phrase I came across in a sales blog a year or so ago and it’s stuck with me. It doesn’t mean literally die, of course, and it’s not a threat that if you don’t sign on the dotted line we will send the knights in wielding axes. It’s about your sales process.

Next steps:

I always recommend to our No Fluff teams that they never leave an entry on their CRM without the next step planned in. It’s vital to set up a good sales process so that you aren’t leaving any prospect to drop away. When you’re following up after an appointment, usually via email, do you systematically diary the next step? Or do you wait for them to reply? If the latter, I’d say you will have lost control of the sales process, and most likely the deal. Email is a noisy place, plus you’re the one selling, it’s up to you to make it easy for them to buy. They’re not waiting for your proposal to land in their in-box (if only!). So what’s the next step?

Sales processes are hugely important, not only to maintain the sales funnel and prevent peaks and troughs in your sales cycle, but also think of it from the client side. If you leave it at an email, how important is their business to you? If you’re simply sending information to them about your offer, how are you finding out about their business and what they need, how are you establishing that vital rapport?

Cold leads:

Yet I do agree that some leads go cold, that they may even say they’re not interested. Actually, if they say they’re not interested that’s good – you can gather some great feedback as to why they’re not keen, but also it saves you needlessly following up until they say ‘no’. The trick in your sales process is to develop it according to your buyer’s journey, rather than your selling plan. It’s a balance of how often to contact them, in what format, and saying what. And this changes for each company, it evolves and we can refine it to get the best results.

But, back to ‘buy or die’.

What do you do if your prospect hasn’t responded to any of your emails, calls, voicemails, social media messages, mailed materials or meeting requests? Well, if you have a limited number of leads, you can plan more work on them in, but if you have stacks to get through, then you’d perhaps shelve them for a while. But they are not ‘dead’ leads.

And if your prospect says ‘no’, do you then leave it forever and move on? I’d recommend not. There’s no need to hound them, but ‘no’ might mean ‘no for now’. It also might be that this contact moves on, or that their policy changes down the road, or that their current supplier fails in some way.. so if you leave them forever you’ll miss that opening. I’d diary to contact them in 6 months/a year/18 months (depending on your/their cycle). They’re still not ‘dead’.

If they’re not dead leads, what do you do with them?

If you have a quieter time of year, get in touch with them again here, they may not be as likely to close as your hot leads, but if you’ve not spoken to them for a year, you cannot know either way. Better to make that call than not ask at all. It doesn’t need to be a hard sell, just a keeping in touch conversation. Meanwhile, if they’re subscribed to your newsletter, that’s great. It might be that you can interact with their social media in the meantime to maintain a rapport. It might be that you can introduce them to someone, or something that isn’t at all related to selling your service or product, but keeps momentum up and, importantly, continues to establish rapport.

So what is a ‘dead’ lead?

The obvious answer is if they have closed down. But other than that, it’s a dead lead if they are no longer able, permanently, to buy. Otherwise, they’re just resting.

Need a hand?

If you’d like to work on your sales process, to ensure you’re not leaving leads to fade away and go to your competitors, do get in touch. Mapping your process is as individual as you. Likely there’ll be several processes, perhaps one for each type of buyer. This is one thing No Fluff can help with. We are good at it. We work with you, engaging with you and your team to find what fits best for your clients and workload. We believe in empowering you to continue tweaking your processes. And we help you embed those processes. If you’d like to know more, have a no obligation, No Fluff chat. 

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