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How to Engage Unresponsive B2B Sales Prospects

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, August 4, 2021



Feel like you're hearing "Now's just not a good time" more than usual from your industrial prospects? Or how about "Let me get back to you on that." Or maybe you're facing a giant wall of silence.

 As industrial companies struggle to meet unprecedented demand and find their footing amid a host of COVID-related challenges, your prospects in manufacturing are likely overwhelmed with calls and emails, proposals and pitches. 

 Fortunately, there are a variety of ways salespeople can have productive dialogues with these high-value clients and keep them engaged until they're ready to consider your proposal.

Today, it's time to tackle one of the most challenging prospects salespeople come across: the client who just "doesn't have time right now" or insists that they'll "get back to you later, now's not a good time" whenever a vendor approaches them.

The Problem: Prospects Don't Have Clearly Defined Needs

The B2B sales process in every industry has changed drastically in recent years, and manufacturing is no exception.

Buying groups are larger than ever, and buyers tend to do a significant amount of research before contacting vendors.

As a result, many vendors assume that clients who reach out to them are close to the end of the buying phase. Often, that assumption is wrong.

The truth is, roughly half of B2B buyers are still unsure of the full scope of their business needs when they start contacting vendors.

Since these buyers are still defining their needs, they're less likely to respond to contact attempts by vendors.

After all, it's hard to justify spending time in a sales pitch when you don't know whether the product or service being offered even meets your needs.

The Solution: Justifying a Product or Service to the Client

For salespeople dealing with unresponsive buyers at the start of a sales pitch, getting everyone on the same page should be a priority.

Around 84% of buyers don't hear back from vendors when they ask questions. If a salesperson responds to a prospect promptly, they're already setting themselves apart from the competition.

Answering questions helps buyers understand whether or not a product or service meets their needs. The more honest and objective a vendor is with their answers and the advice they give, the more responsive potential clients are likely to be.

Of course, this only works at the start of the sales process. Here are a few techniques salespeople can use to try and get in touch with a client who's going dark later in the process:

• Don't guilt them. Bringing up the number of times a prospect has rejected contact attempts or made excuses isn't effective.

• Change up contact attempts and closes. Try calling prospects at different times of day. Instead of closing by trying to establish a meeting, bring up a topic the prospect enjoys and ask them to chat about it during the next meeting. Introducing variety into the process can help prospects loosen up and look forward to meetings rather than dreading them.

• Attempt to make contact with other members of their organization. Some tact is required here. It's possible to ask the prospect to connect you with another person in the buying group if they seem receptive to a product but unsure the offering is tailored to their needs. Otherwise, try sending a valuable resource (such as a white paper) to multiple individuals, including the first contact. If the original prospect hasn't responded to requests in days or weeks, they'll be hard-pressed to begrudge a salesperson for choosing an alternative route.

• Leave the door open. Prospects are used to break-up emails or ultimatums. For a more modern approach, try telling the client something like, "it appears our goals aren't aligned right now. I'll get in touch in a few months to see if anything's changed. Feel free to reach out if you get the urge!" This type of close is more aligned with current prescriptive sales techniques and is more likely to elicit a positive response from prospects.

Fresh B2B Leads When You Need Them

Sometimes, you've got to put reluctant clients on the back burner and chase after the next lead. In that event, it helps to have a steady stream of sales leads so that you're always working fresh prospects.

If you're a sales leader or marketer looking to reach decision-makers in the U.S. manufacturing and energy industry sectors, we can help. IndustrySelect provides clients with customizable data for potential leads in the industrial world.

Get instant access to IndustrySelect's database of 500,000 industrial businesses and one million executives in the U.S. manufacturing and global energy sectors. Drill down to the data you need using up to 30 specific criteria points. Data is collected and verified by MNI's 80-person research team, so you're always working with updated data.

To learn more about how you can use IndustrySelect to generate reliable leads for your company, visit our website to try out a free demo.

Want to explore more types of sales objections and how you can best navigate them? Read our Definitive Guide to Overcoming Common Sales Objections

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