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How To Regain Your Sales Mojo

BY Susan Salvo

4/26/2010

Have you ever made a presentation to a hot prospect only to find six months later, the sale has not been closed?

The prospect was totally engaged in your presentation, gave you all of the classic buying signs, and you were with the prospect for over an hour! As you were leaving the prospect's office, you said to yourself, "this one's a home run" and started to think about what you were going to do with that big fat commission check. Perhaps a new set of golf clubs or maybe a mini get-away to Las Vegas.

However, before you whip out your American Express card, you decide to call the prospect, just to check and see when he wants to take delivery of your product or get started with your service. That's when it happens: the prospect no longer takes your calls. Even worst, he no longer returns your calls. What's going on? How could this be happening with Mr. Hot Prospect?

It seems that any prospect who is willing to meet with a sales professional is a serious buyer. Why would someone, especially a senior level decision maker, waste his or her time if there wasn't a need or interest in your product or service? The sales professional must recognize this and not permit the potential buyer to slip away and go elsewhere. At the same time, the sales professional must be confident and willing to put in the required time and effort to bring the sale to closure. Unfortunately, prospects often have their own time table when it comes to saying yes and bringing the sale to closure.

At this point, you've lost your Mojo. Now what? It may be time for a little self reflection.

The first thing that comes to mind is "what changes in the proposal are necessary to make it acceptable and have it meet the needs of the buyer; what elements are missing; what needs to be included; what terms and conditions does the prospect find onerous, or a deal breaker?"

Now it's time to get your Mojo back by putting Mr. Hot Prospect into your monthly follow up list.

Many sales professionals make a great presentation but never bother to follow up with the prospect; they're waiting for the prospect to call them. If that were the case, it wouldn't be called selling but rather order taking.

Most sales people have access to a contact management system such as ACT! or salesforce.com that come with a task or "to do" feature. The contact management system will also provide a place for notes from a meeting and any subsequent conversations with the prospect. This is extremely helpful when you're juggling multiple prospects and opportunities. Now schedule the prospect for a monthly phone call.

By this point in the process, you may find the prospect is willing to take your call. This will give you an opportunity to find out what the true objections are and why the prospect has not moved forward. Please keep in mind, depending on the product or service this process could take 3-6 months. During this time, you may want to send articles of interest to the prospect, just to let him know you're in tune with what's happening in his industry.

Once you've reached the prospect, and had a productive conversation, you may want to send an old-fashioned, hand-written thank you note. The note should thank the prospect for taking time to talk to you and close with a call to action. For example, you will follow up after submitting a revised proposal, after the board meeting, or in the new budget cycle, etc. With each follow up call, the goal is to uncover all of the objections and what it will take to close the sale.

Patience is a virtue in the sales cycle and the sales professional understands this and turns each objection into a positive outcome for the prospect. In order to close Mr. Hot Prospect, it's all about the follow up call(s).

A colleague of mine just reported a very large sale. When I asked how long it took to close the sale, he said with pride: 10 years.

Susan Salvo is the principal in Revenue Generators LLC, a sales consulting business based in Manchester. Reach her through her website at www.revenuegenerators.net.