Don’t raise the ante when prospects are silent

There’s an interesting misconception in the world of lead generation: the idea that when you don’t initially hear something back from your prospects, you’re “losing.”

The best comparison I can think of is gambling, where studies have shown that the greater the perceived loss in a given moment, the higher some people are willing to bet on the next hand to try and recoup—even if it’s an amount they weren’t prepared to spend. That knee-jerk reaction is what usually leads them to real loss…

…and it happens a lot in Sin City.

In prospecting, silence isn’t failure, it’s when someone tells you no. While it’s true that you’ll hear that response a lot in your search for new business, you’ll also have the occasional yes to prove that your methods (your low bets, essentially) are worthwhile and have paid off. Silence is simply the waiting period, and the more that you allow it to unnerve you, the more likely you’ll do something that will get you rejected.

Chances are, that something includes one of these:

  • Email more. One email a week is usually a respectful frequency for your prospects, but some prospectors turn up the dial by sending every 2-3 days, and from multiple accounts. The result? Lots of unsubscribe requests.
  • Push the hard sell. You might be of the opinion that 1-2 months is ample time for your prospects to make up their minds about doing business with you, so you change your tune to what you know: selling points about your product or services. Now you look like a lot of spam emails out there, and you’re also more prone to get silence from your prospects. Why? Because you’ve given away the whole show, and they can take it or leave it.
  • Fold. I do find it interesting how some people will spend more time claiming a methodology doesn’t work than they will actually attempting it. Maybe they think they don’t have a knack for it, or that they don’t have beginner’s luck (which isn’t a real thing, by the way—even if my recent winning streak at the Fremont Casino would otherwise indicate). They can sit back and dissect the data on who they’re emailing by creating five different spreadsheets, but they can’t be bothered to consistently email their prospects.

Try not to let the silence bother you. Treat prospecting like gambling: make a “set wager” on how many emails you’ll commit to sending each day, and stick it out. The odds are better when you play it safe and do the minimal betting (email each prospect once a week). The worst thing you can do is push for a big score—the house always wins. Let your prospects warm up to you, and when the time is right, they’ll respond.

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