Do This (And Not That) When Being Ignored

BY Jessica Helinski
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Prospect not picking up the phone? Client giving you the cold shoulder? First, don’t panic; you won’t be the first salesperson to be ignored. Then, consider how to react. How you deal with this issue will have a big impact on whether you finally make a connection. “There will be prospects and customers who will reject your advances and avoid you at all costs,” writes MTD Sales Training’s Sean McPheat. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up, or get desperate. He lists helpful do’s and don’t’s when dealing with this kind of situation. First, here are a couple of his do-not-do’s:

DON’T take it personally. 

As he mentioned, being ignored is pretty common among salespeople. There could be many different explanations for the behavior, so don’t immediately feel personally persecuted. Gather your thoughts before deciding your next steps.

DON’T be a nuisance.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of calling, calling, and calling in hopes of getting a response. But likely, you’re just going to come off as desperate and annoying. “Persistence is good. It shows you are really serious about helping their business,” McPheat writes. “But doing it to the extent that you simply get on their nerves doesn’t enhance your cause.”

Now, when it comes to what to do, he suggests the following two tips:

DO ask yourself, “If I were in their shoes, why would I see me?”

What is the value of a conversation with you? Whatever that value is, it's likely been lost on the prospect or client. Think about how they see you and your business. How can you adjust that view so that they want to connect? This mindset, of being in their shoes, will help you determine how you need to showcase value. This, McPheat writes, is a great starting point.

DO take it easy on “selling” to them.

Many salespeople will persist with a sales message and keep forcing their products or services over email or phone,” he explains. “Instead, gather some interesting articles that would be interesting to the prospect and send those over, one at a time.” Think of ways to connect that show you care about the other person’s business (rather than your own), which will immediately set you apart from the countless other sales reps.

McPheat’s entire article is filled with great do’s and don’t’s to follow when dealing with a non-​responsive client or prospect. And, the more you put them into practice, the more naturally you’ll be able to handle each unreturned call or email.