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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #52: January, 2008

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC

I'm changing Weiss Advice this year to focus on given topics each month. I'd welcome your response and will print it the following month with your permission. If you wish to respond and have your comment printed, please send it as a Word attachment and not embedded in email. (Remember, in modern printing, skip only one space between sentences, not two, which makes editing much easier.)

Topic: Non-Responding Prospects

Cause: Not a buyer
Resolution: Ignore the gatekeeper and go find the buyer.

Cause: No set follow-up obligation
Resolution: Always set clear, definitive next steps including dates and times.

Cause: Poor meeting
Resolution: Write with the request that the buyer help you understand what you could have done better to generate interest so as to educate yourself for the future.

Cause: Poor relationship
Resolution: Take more time to develop a relationship and don't go into a "pitch" under any circumstances. Don't let the buyer put you on the defensive. Respond, "Why do you ask?"

Cause: Buyer is legitimately busy or out of town
Resolution: Make an appointment with the secretary or assistant at a definite time. (It is often helpful to get a buyer's cell number and ask if it is permissible to use it.)

The preventive action for non-responsiveness is to build a strong, early relationship with definitive next steps so that the buyer is comfortable expressing reservations (which is very positive) and there is never a hesitancy to point out that you have an agreed-upon date arriving.

The contingent action, if the preventive actions have not been taken or have failed, is what I call "four and out." You call three times, two days apart, each time indicating when you will call again. If there is no contact and no return call, then write an email or letter (I prefer the latter) explaining that you're not sure why you are getting no response, that you're there if needed, but that you don't want to "hound" anyone.

Then, move on and forget about it. Some buyers are rude, but if even a large minority aren't calling back, then you either are not dealing with true buyers or you are not employing the techniques above.

 
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