When developing your lead generation processes, you may need more than fresh cold calling techniques or a mailing list of prospects; you need insights into “how” and “why” the sales process works like it does, and fresh ideas for how to make it better.
When you’re dealing with lead generation for B2B sales leads, you need to keep in mind that the sales cycle can be a long process with the possibility of ups and downs along the way, even during the early stages of initial processes and qualifying B2B sales leads.
The appointment setting process often leads to frustration when prospects don’t show up. Sales people know to expect a certain number of “no shows” and cancellations, but if your no show rate is higher than average, perhaps you should consider the reasons why.
Here are a few insights into why prospects fail to appear for your new business appointments.
“We have reviewed your website and we have no need for your services.” If you have advanced to this point in your lead generation process, chances are you are “surprised” to hear this response. Your first conversation with this prospect most likely uncovered some pain issues that you can help solve. In this scenario the above response is often “code” for “I haven’t been to your website yet and haven’t even reviewed the information you e-mailed to me a few days ago.” Your prospect may have an interest in your services but they haven’t done their homework. Chances are they are behind on many other deadlines and their excuse is just like having to explain to your 6th grade teacher why you haven’t done your homework. Instead it’s easier to blow off the appointment.
How to handle: Stay patient. Keep in mind that the pain issues that you picked up in your first conversations are still accurate. Your solutions to these issues are also still valid. It’s time to move on to a new level of contact with the company. For example, if you have previously been talking with a director level decision maker, begin targeting a new contact at the VP level.
“My boss called me in to a meeting. Sorry I was unavailable.” Actually your contact was not in the boss’s office…he or she was frantically preparing a sales report that needed to be submitted to senior management several days ago. The report shows sales are flat for the month. Panic! Finally the VP (your contact’s boss) sent an e-mail that he needs the report by 10 a.m. Your appointment was at 9 a.m.
How to handle: Stay calm. Don’t jump to the conclusion that the prospect’s behavior is an indication that they are not interested. Instead, give the prospect some space and try to reschedule. This prospect might still have a strong interest (and a strong sense of “pain” showing them that they need your product). Let the prospect save face – give them a chance to choose the next appointment date.
“I talked with my boss about your services and we have no interest at this time.” Well, that might sound believable but you haven’t even discussed your solution with this person. This is the famous “good guy/bad guy” excuse. The prospect is saying, “I can’t take the blame for the fact that my boss doesn’t share my enthusiasm for your services. He’s the bad guy…and I did you a favor by taking your services to him and you should be very thankful for that.”
How to handle: Shore up your relationship with the immediate prospect, regardless of what your contact says the the boss thinks. Play along and empathize with how frustrating that must be for your contact. Even if the prospect mentioned your solution to their boss, you know your solutions were not discussed in detail. After all that was what you were going to do on your appointment. Don’t forget, you haven’t had a chance to present your capabilities in any detail yet. In a very low-key manner, discuss this with your contact and re-invite the prospect to spend 15 – 20 minutes to look at your solution.
“This is not something we are going to do this year….touch base with us next budget cycle.” This is code for: “If we had your solution in place, I would probably have the time to listen to what you have to say. In the meantime I am treading water and I don’t want to ask my boss for anything new as I already can’t get done with everything I need to do.”
How to handle: This is a classic appointment shutdown. Regroup and follow the procedures in section 1 above. You need to find a level of contact within the company that is willing to get on the solutions side of the company’s problems. It’s important to identify these types of decision makers who know their existing systems are dysfunctional, even though they have no time to invest in solutions. Move on to a higher level of contact.
No call…no return call…no apology. This might sound like bad news, but sometimes “no news is good news.” The “silent no-shows” are often the easiest appointments to reschedule. The reason is that you haven’t heard the prospect say they were “not interested.”
How to handle: The key to getting this appointment rescheduled is to get the prospect on the phone live. When rescheduling these appointments don’t leave messages or send e-mails. Instead, simply dial on the lead until you get the prospect live and proceed with the assumption that the prospect is willing to reschedule.
How many of these “no show excuses” sound familiar to you? And how can you adjust your activities accordingly? Instead of spending time and money trying to generate more business leads, perhaps you could take a closer look at how you manage your “no shows” from existing sales leads. By following up, listening to the subtext of what your prospects are saying to you, and staying focused on finding the right decision makers to speak with at the prospect’s organization, there are many ways to turn “no shows” into sales.
Are you looking for lead generation companies who will go beyond the “same old” to help your sales improve? Talk to Strategic Sales & Marketing and see how we can help you with your B2B lead generation process. Strategic Sales & Marketing is a “leading light” among lead generation companies, with an industry-leading team of B2B sales consultants and appointment setters offering comprehensive lead generation services. We work with our clients to help them find solutions for their B2B lead generation challenges, helping them achieve more efficient appointment setting, better qualified B2B sales leads and bigger sales results. Contact Strategic Sales & Marketing for a free quick quote or a free, no obligation Test Drive of our lead generation services.