July 17, 2017

What to Do When Your Sales Leads Say 'Not Now'

Sales is a tedious game of converting leads into paying customers, but, as you know, not all leads end up that way. Data shows that 80% of sales are made after the fifth call, but only 8% of salespeople keep up with leads until then. Regardless of persistent follow-ups, some cold leads never heat up and some leads convert to customers instantly. However, there are times when a lead is developing well, seems interested, and just when you're about to close the deal they say, "Not now."

This can be debilitating to hear; almost as much as when in high school you told your crush how you really felt about them and they replied "I like you as my friend!" As a professional you are now confused on what the best next steps are. Do you press them to make a decision? Do you persuade them into closing the deal? Do you ghost them... and never contact them again?

First off, there still is hope, so don't panic and leave them out to dry. Find out what the reasoning is behind their decision to hold off from the sale right now. A common sales qualification term is BANT, which stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe. While BANT is not a perfect explanation for every industry, it is applicable and helpful in finding out what exactly is stopping the deal from closing at the moment. All the categories of BANT are broad, so most reasonings will be covered by at least one. If you identify that, you can adjust your approach and plan accordingly.

4 Tips for when your sales leads say 'not now'...

While the lead is not closed, it does not mean they are cold lead or the prospect of closing is dead. The sale can still happen, but only if you nurture them more. Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, and nurtured leads produce an average 20% more in sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads (Demand Gen Report). There are ways to techniques to close a difficult sale, and while they are not 100% fool-proof, they're effective methods.

  1. Consistent Communication. Most sales data points to 8-12 touch points before generating a response. First follow-up via email, secondly via phone call, and thirdly via text. The consistency is key here since, especially if you know no issues from the BANT model that hinders the deal.

  2. Include resources, insights, and articles. Rather than giving a discount, something as rewarding is a resource from your business. Resources can be research that your firm uses to show how impactful your product is or an article from your business's blog. While some resources can boast your product, some can also be unrelated to your product but still be relevant to the industry. An example of a good resource unrelated to product is our real estate agent recruiting question checklist.

  3. Send them a testimonial of an existing customer. People are more likely to buy something or take action if others are as well. Sending a customer's review of your product or service is a great way to build trust and assure the lead that they are in good hands!

  4. Offer to Meet Up in Person. Despite the convenience factor, calls and email are not effective on certain people. Sometimes, all you need to do is meet person face-to-face to close the deal. Therefore offer the lead to meet for coffee to further discuss the opportunity.

Don't be annoying

Of course you don't think what you're doing is annoying but we chatted with our sales team here at Contactually and they stressed this point...because you may not even realize what you're doing, even if it's done with the best intentions. There is a clear line between sending a few check-in/follow-up emails and emailing every other day. Don't scare them away by over-communicating. If they don't close within two weeks, place them into long term nurturing campaign, however timing varies from person-to-person.

In the end of course, if the lead is not going to close, it is okay. You want clarity and not to waste your time, so getting a "no" can be beneficial! If they are set on not closing the deal, you can still keep up with them on a long-term basis and nurture your relationship with them through automated check-in emails for future deals.

Stay top-of-mind

You can use Contactually to do exactly that, specifically to execute email campaigns, reminders, templates, and more. By maintaining contact, you are keeping the door open for when they do want to ultimately close the deal.

Many people would interpret a lead saying "Not now" as a hard "No," but it is an opportunity to continue with them in the growing process. They are not only a potential customer but also a new relationship in the works - if you nurture it enough, it will blossom.