Great salespeople value their time. When you hit a stonewall and feel a customer or prospect is wasting your time use the “take away” technique. Whether it’s a confirmed meeting which keeps getting put off or an offer on the table without a decision a salesperson can take it away.
The Value Of The Take Away
Each day we are blessed with only 24 hours. To be great in sales we need to use each of the working hours achieving our goals. Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where the customer or prospect just disappears. No matter how we try we never get a response. The “take away” is a tool we can use to shake up the prospect or customer. If they respond then we have rejuvenated the selling process. If not we move on and stop wasting time.
How To Revive The Sales Conversation
So there you are stuck in the sales cycle with a prospect you believe is a good candidate for future business. You have invested time in qualifying the prospect. The first couple of meetings were productive. But now nothing. Scheduled and confirmed meetings are cancelled. All you want to know is whether this buyer is worth your time. So reach into your tool box and pull out the “take away.”
When a prospect has been illusive, here’s what I do. I send an email. (Maybe these days a text might work, too.):
The email body: “Hi Jake, It’s been a while since you said you were interested in reducing your cost of inventory. You have cancelled several meetings, so I’m thinking you no longer have an interest. I’ll not bother you again. Best Regards, Don.
Depending on the quality of the relationship I might use a similar script and leave a voicemail when I call and the buyer doesn’t answer.
How To Break Through Thinking-It-Over
So you have made your presentation and the prospect keeps putting off the decision. Hopefully they are telling you why they are delaying. If not time to grab the “take away” out of the toolbox. For me it goes like this in either a voicemail or email depending on the quality of the relationship:
Hi Jake, When we last met you had said my proposal would meet your needs. But after several attempts, I’ve not been able to schedule a follow up appointment. I can only assume you are not interested in my offer. So, soon you will receive a formal notice we are rescinding our offer. Best Regards, Don
What’s The Result Of The Take Away?
Great salespeople hope the “take away” will revive the sales process. The second-best outcome is forcing the prospect to end the sales process and tell you why. The most common response I get is:
“Don, I’m so sorry not to have gotten back with you. I’m still interested but have been tied up with performance reviews (or some other excuse). Let’s get together next Tuesday. Regards, Jake.”
The other response is no response. When “Jake” doesn’t even write or call, I cross this one off the list and move on.
The Tone Of The Take Away
You may think my language is terse. You’re right and for a reason. I want “Jake” to feel that I’m upset he has been wasting my time. The response usually depends on the communication style of the buyer. If they are a driver and have moved on, I won’t hear from them. Expressives will at least respond usually with a terse answer. Those with an analytical style will offer an explanation for the silence. But the supportives will be apologetic and effusive with the response. Using the “take away” let’s the buyer know you are an important part of the relationship and not to be taken for granted.
When You Can, Be Proactive
At the end of each sales call whether in-person, on the phone or by virtual conference schedule the next sales event. Get commitment from the buyer they will follow up with their agreed assignment. If there is a problem, they will let you know. Sometimes the next event is several days or weeks away, then let the buyer know you will be calling periodically to check progress.
Hopefully when you get to the end of a proposal presentation, the buyer commits to purchase. In the rare case when you get an “I want to think it over” get commitment for the next meeting. Set a time limit on the offer to encourage them to move quickly.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Think back to situations where you should have used the “take away”
- Write several drafts of “take aways” you will use
- Prepare your buyer by agreeing upon deadlines and your expectation to be kept informed