Chasing….I hate chasing. Wouldn’t you rather have a fast “no” than an excruciatingly slow “maybe?”
Do you know what the difference is between begging and professional follow-up?
Three unreturned contacts to your buyer.
After three, you have to be honest with yourself—she’s just not that into you.
I call this endless follow up process the “Maybe Whirlpool.”
You know that you are in the “maybe whirlpool” when one or more of the following conditions happen:
- Slow response cycles.Any response cycle outside of 48 hours from your point of contact. When these are repeated with your key buyer or contact, then you either have a very weak contact, or you are very low on the list of issues they are solving.
- Long consideration windows,like when you receive a message that says that they will be considering their options over a period greater than 3 weeks. You may need to modify the period if there are engineering requirements, IT configuration issues or other technical compliance issues. However, there is a cycle that you need to define and then honor if you are going to stay out of the whirlpool.
- Vague political maneuvering comments.“There are a few things going on here that I can’t discuss. I need to line some things up and then I will get back to you.” Again, you have a weak contact who will not be making a decision in the near future.
- Two delays. When a fixed decision date has been moved twice.
You have to get out of the maybe whirlpool. It wastes your time and it creates a depressing and debilitating set of activities for you as you sit outside the prospect waiting and wondering.
My solution to this is to break the cycle. The following is a general version of the email we send to companies that are keeping us in the “Maybe Whirlpool.”
I know how important timing is when considering work with a company like ours. Because we have not been able to connect in the past few weeks by phone or email, I believe that what we have discussed is not currently in your top priority list.
I do not want to keep contacting you, because at this point my calls and emails move from the “pleasant persistence” category into “active annoyance” category.
Out of courtesy to you, I am going to assume that if I do not hear from you in the next several days, other priorities have replaced the project we discussed. I will not contact you for another 3 months to allow you the time to take care of those priorities.
If I am wrong, please, give me a call or an email because my interest in your company and the project has not diminished.
“Sales Rep who is no longer in the Maybe Whirlpool”
The next step is to honor what you have sent. Don’t chase anymore. Call back in 3 months, or whatever cycle you have stated. Period.
It is possible, actually very possible, that your prospect will respond quickly to you and re-engage. Awesome. But, if he or she does not, you have to let them go, take them off of your pipeline and move on. Admit it. She’s just not that into you.