What is it? It’s a rule to help you measure a customer’s true interest and the quality of an opportunity.
Why is it important? Over the last 30 years, I have seen 2 reoccurring issues with salespeople. Those who don’t generate enough opportunities and those who don’t know when to cut ties with the low-quality opportunities they have.
I see it every day. The pipeline is full. Full of opportunities that seem to be going nowhere. The same 10 opportunities in their funnel week after week, month after month. Every week the salesperson says they are trying to follow them up to get updates … sending emails, leaving voice messages but yet the rep remains steadfast that the opportunity is still alive.
- If they can’t return a single call or email are they really that “hot”? Really????
- Is telling yourself or your boss that “they must be busy” a reasonable answer or pacification?
- Don’t you think if they had a real, active need/interest they would respond?
But the sales rep keeps defending. Why? Hope!!! Fear!!! Delusion!!!
So … this rule is designed to:
- Save you time
- Decrease the “hoping” syndrome (hoping they will buy when they likely won’t)
- Enable the salesperson to cut ties quickly so they put energy towards either higher quality opportunities, finding more opportunities or both.
- Provide the sales rep a realistic snapshot of their pipeline. Is it really as full as they think?
Here’s How it Works
You follow the steps below 3 times:
- At the end of meeting A, before you put down the phone or leave the meeting, you set a follow-up meeting (often via phone), with a date and time.
- You send a recap email, restating the date and time of the next meeting (including the agenda).
- You send a Calendar invite (typically Outlook)
- You send a reminder email 1-2 days prior to your meeting.
- Regardless of whether they have responded to your recap or reminder emails, you call exactly when you said you were going to.
- If they are not there when you call (and you have tried to go to reception to page them as well as tried their cell phone), then you send them an email reminding them of the meeting you had but that when you called, unfortunately they were not available.
- In the email, you offer a new date and time using the ‘The Power of Assumption’ (see the module).
- Follow steps c, d, e, f, and g two (2) more times.
If there has been no response from them and they have not been present for any phone meetings, send them a “disengage email”. Tell them that at this point you are going to assume that xyz is NOT a priority for them right now. For those who want to talk with you, they will likely feel bad and respond. The rest don’t want to talk (but can’t say so because humans avoid expressing how they feel and hope their silence gives you a hint.)
Mark your opportunity as lost and move on as by now, you would have executed 9 “touches” over the 3 cycles. Feel happy you followed the process and move on. (if you want, you can still set a follow-up task for 90-180 days out to follow up but keep the Opportunity as “Lost”).