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6 Ways to Bring a Dead Contact Back to Life

Keith Rosen

You are ready for a spectacular year. The resolution has been made to strengthen your business relationships, attract more customers and advance your career.

You began reviewing the list of prospects who said “No” to you in the past. Sure, they may have turned you down before, but you know that change occurs throughout the year – in the economy, in technology and in your prospects’ business. If your approach is merely to “touch base” and see if they are in a better position to make a purchasing decision, you have the same “plan” as every other salesperson.

Before making your next contact, spend some time evaluating the history of the account. Chances are, there were things you missed during your initial interaction that cost you the sale. Uncovering these areas you need to strengthen, realigning your thinking and then developing a unique strategy to follow will enable you to create new possibilities with past prospects. Here are a few ideas:

1. Determine why they really didn’t buy.
This is better done immediately after you are turned down, but it’s also a good way to get back in front of someone. The key is to get your prospects to speak with you openly. This can be difficult, since many prospects feel the need to disguise the truth in order to avoid “hurting your feelings.” Instead, they use generic reasoning, such as “high price, no need to change current vender, no budget available or bad timing.”

Uncover the real reason by asking questions about their goals this year, problems they are facing with their current vender, product or service, etc. This often leads to a conversation about the potential purchase of your product/service that you would never have opened up otherwise. Ask questions such as, “If you could create the ideal (solution/product/service), what about your current product/service would you like to improve or change?” Or “What solution would my product/service have to offer that would motivate you enough to explore working with us?”

2. Do your homework.
It isn’t enough to simply understand the problem and provide a solution. Anticipate your prospect’s future needs. Where do they rank within their respective industries and how does that compare to past years? What changes are expected for their industries? Will the economy or technology have an effect on their businesses? What are some of the problems they will face this year? How will utilizing your product/service help alleviate these issues? Read up on press releases, annual reports or articles on the company that you’re calling on. If you want to create a new purchasing opportunity, determine your prospects’ current as well as future needs— needs that your prospects may not even be able to identify themselves.