If you are in sales and trying to bring in new business for your company, I am sure you have heard these words from a customer: “I’ll get back to you.”
Right after you hang up the telephone or whatever method of communication you have used, your next thought is, “Yeah right, sure they will.”
Author Robert Shook seems to agree. In 1996, he wrote a book, “I’ll Get Back to You.” It contained 156 creative ways that might elicit a return call. It was a fun book to read, loaded with ideas that would make connecting with people a little more interesting and increasing the possibility of them getting back to you.
Many of these techniques I picked up from his book 25 years ago have worked well for me, including many people that attended my seminars, who have tried using them.
Even today, some of these fun and creative little ideas still apply and elicit a response.
The following examples seemed to work best when you cannot get people to return a call, email, etc. The key is not to be a pest. Using the example that you have left one voice mail and/or one email and have not heard back in over a week.
By sending them a humorous short text, email, or even using social media, such as LinkedIn, the goal is to find out where they stand or why we have not heard back from them.
Example No. 1
“Hi, this is Hal. I would like to ask you one question that will take 18 seconds and I promise that you will not hurt my feelings.”
Pick one reason I have not heard back from you:
• You selected another vendor
• It’s not in the budget
• The project has been put on hold
• You really, really like me and cannot express it into words.
Example No. 2:
“Geez, I never heard back from you. Please pick one from below and then I will know what to do, thanks.”
• You lost my message and forgot to call back
• You are just not interested
• You hoped I would just give up and go away
• You are on vacation for a long, long time.
Example No. 3:
You are trying to attract a new client and they said they will get back to you after they return from their vacation.
• Ask politely in a conversation style where they are going. Next, go online, or even to the local chamber of commerce website, gather information about their vacation spot and send it to them. They will appreciate the thought and I guarantee this will be different from other salespeople they deal with.
Example No. 4:
If you are working with an organization that makes everything complicated and it’s typically people that cause this type of frustration, try something very unique.
• Buy a roll of red tape, unroll it and pack it into a ball. Then send it to the company with a note, blaming it on the bureaucracy or the red tape in their company, adding, “Now that we’ve gone through all the red tape.”
Example No. 5:
Let’s say you have a prospect that is slow to make a decision and they need to simply decide yes or no, but they keep telling you how busy they are.
• Go to the supermarket and buy instant pudding, orange juice, potatoes, Jell-O or anything you can find the prospect can make instantly. Attach a cute note saying: “Now that I saved you a little time, when can we meet to finalize the project?”
And finally, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Go grab a few Keurig coffee cups or a small bag of coffee with a nice mug and mail it.
Try not to send a promotional one with your company name on it. Send them a more personal mug that might fit their interests such as their favorite sports team or favorite band, etc. Include a personal note saying: “Can we have a cup of coffee together over Zoom for 15 to 20 minutes?” Make it so innocuous it would be hard for them to say no.
Most people get a chuckle out of these examples because they are different, and why not have a little fun while selling.
What is the worst case, they don’t get back to you?
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.