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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Case Study - Sales Communication

How many of you, working as Sales Executive/Manager, have experienced the frustration about your potential clients not returning your calls? Almost all of you, at some point of time, right? Let's analyse the case and see why this happens.

The Case:
The potential client typically said, "We need your product/services, please send us a business quote customised for our industry". Now after providing all the details and repeated follow-up calls, you are wondering, what happened so dramatically, that the client is not even answering your calls? Why do they behave in this way?

Possible Reasons:
- Client’s request is misinterpreted as immediate wish to buy. Enthusiastic sales people try to reduce ‘enquiry-to-order cycle time’ to seconds! This results in false impression, ‘Send me a quote’, being concluded, as if the client will place an order the moment he receives the quote.

- ‘It’s not a priority now.’ This can happen almost overnight. Changes in demand from customers of your potential client, tricky market situations, or simply a new Boss can be the most common reasons, why they no more need your product/services urgently.

- ‘I am an expert, I know in and out of this product/service.’ Many times, someone at the client’s end feels he has all the required information and there is no need for further discussion.

- ‘We are totally packed in another project/audit/daily work.’ This is not always a lie; you have to believe this sometimes. You can even judge this from the situation in your own office. In most of present organisations, people have many things to complete within tough deadlines. The client wants to come back and discuss with you, but just cannot make it right now!

- Just for reference and comparison. Many times client needs your quote for comparison, to justify to the management/team to place order with your competitor.

It’s important to find out the reason for client’s silence before further investing in this case. Let’s see how:

- Don't give up. Maybe your potential client wants you to maintain the follow-up. There should be no harm in contacting 5-6 times before jumping to conclusion.

- Keep adding value in each follow-up call. Don't just say, "Hi just calling you as a follow-up on our quote. Call me if you need any other information". Instead, you can say, "Hello, I believe you have realised how our product/services can be a great push to your efforts in cost control. We can discuss and explore some more ways to customize the product/services bringing it closer to your requirements." This way you can stress on potential loss due to delayed purchase decision.

- Are you following up too frequently? After 2-3 unsuccessful attempts, increase the gap in subsequent calls by days, weeks, or even months.

- Use different communication tools. Use phone calls with e-mails, invitations to the upcoming events, forwarding articles, testimonials etc. Try to express yourself as an expert in this field.

- Discover multiple contact points in the client’s organisation. Identify and develop multiple relationships within the potential organisation.

- Plan for future actions. Be prepared with the follow-up schedule and agenda for next meeting/call. By identifying symptoms of unwillingness, you can further evaluate the seriousness and/or urgency of the need.

- Try a little bit of fun. After repeated attempts to contact, leave a funny message as, ‘I know you're very busy person, but I also know that reducing your production cost is important for you. That's why I keep bothering you. Can I have an opportunity to talk to you instead of your answering machine?’

- Let them have some breathing space. E-mail the potential client stating, ‘We thought you were interested, but as we have not heard from you since long, we might have misjudged your need.’ This can get you a response and perhaps an explanation from the client (who might be feeling guilty of not communicating).

By trying out some of these different options, you should be able to get some clue on the status of the need. This should help you decide whether to look forward to the client as potential one or to move forward with another client.


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