- Quotas to meet.
- Bosses to please.
- Commissions to earn
- Bills to pay
Waiting on that deal is exactly why a career in sales is not for everyone. The anticipation of that big deal is the reason why some of us don’t sleep at night, and quite honesty, it is what gives us the dreaded “commission breath”
Commission breath is the affliction that makes us do the things that a normally sane person wouldn't. It turns us into stalkers at the end of the month. It makes us send unproductive emails that seem desperate. It tells our prospects that we really need the deal, and it gives away the very bargaining chip that we may need in order to keep price integrity.
So what are the best strategies for avoiding this, or more likely, minimizing it?
At the beginning of the relationship, and throughout the whole sales process, you should state and get confirmation on the next steps. You should also reiterate where you hope these conversations are leading.
Be be sure to be specific about timeframes and outcomes. Also be sure to get agreement on these items, as well as providing an “escape hatch” where he client can email you saying they wish to get off the ride. Below is an example of a typical conversation.
”David, I think his meeting was productive. The next step is a meeting with your executive council next week. You mentioned that you would be able to make a decision by the 25th of the month. Is this still accurate?”
”Yes it is, Mike”
”David, just so you know, I will be calling you in the 26th for final approval. If at any time, you think this isn’t going to happen, please let me know. Ultimately, I am a salesman, and I am not good at hints. All I ask is that you be honest and let me know if this isn’t working. Again, I’m a salesman, and I don’t get hurt feelings. Deal?”
I always like to fall back on the “I’m a salesman, and I don’t take this personal” line. That’s what I’m here. If the prospect doesn’t say no to me, then I will still keep calling. Let them know this.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU GET “GHOSTED”?
Ghosting: When a prospect disappears on you...stops returning you calls or emails.
Ghosting is the most infuriating thing that happens to a salesperson, and it often comes after you think you are in the best position to make a sale.
After being ghosted, some salespeople resort to obviously odd emails or phone messages (that seem logical coming from you). An extreme example of this type of voicemail is played out in this VERY UNCOMFORTABLE famous scene from the movie Swingers.
My best tool to fight this is an email called my "stuck under a desk" email. It works 98% of the time, but it can only be used once per prospect.... here is a copy of the typical email...
I called you a couple of times to get an update on the agreement that I sent you. While I haven't heard back from you, I understand that these things happen. Typically when someone doesn't return my call, it's because of one of three things.
- You haven't made a decision yet - If this is the case, please let me know. I can give you more time, and maybe even clear up some confusion you may have.
- You made a decision, and you decided on one of my competitors. - If this is the case, just shoot me an email. I will be ok...I am a salesman. I will survive...I ave been turned down before. :)
- After our last call, a large desk fell on you, and you have been stuck ever since. - If this is the case, please let me know, and I will alert the authorities and get you freed from the Steelcase contraption.
This email works because it injects humor into the situation. It asks for a return message, but allows the prospect to save face.
The best advice is to make sure you have a deep pipeline so you don't have to rely on one deal so much that it makes you a crazy loon like Mike, leaving an answering machine message for Nikki.