8 Steps To Revive Dead Sales Leads and Move Stalled Sales Deals
As a salesperson, you’ve probably faced more dead deals than you’re willing to acknowledge. So much so that they have become an expected outcome of your sales process now. With 98% of the leads that salespeople receive not resulting in closed business, you’re hardly to blame for keeping your expectations in check. Unfortunately, this assumption that dead deals are a given with each new batch of contacts you acquire is your biggest hindrance to converting them, followed by the belief that they can’t be revived once they go cold.
But, what exactly can you do to master dead deals?
Before starting on how you can bring your dead leads back to life, let’s understand how you can keep them from getting cold altogether.
How Can You Avoid Dead Deals?
To steer clear of dead deals, you need to first find out the root cause behind the failure of your deals. 30% of marketers say salespeople don’t have success with their leads because they don’t reach out soon enough or try hard enough to connect with the prospects.
Are you making a similar mistake?
Go through this list to find out what you may be doing wrong, and what you can do to outwit your dead leads.
1. Decrease Your Response Time
Oftentimes, even when you have a burning hot list of contacts, most of them will end up cold because you’re unable to reach them, leaving you with a mere 28% that pick the phone up. To avoid this, contact your prospect within 5 minutes of them being tagged as a lead. Doing so will increase the odds of you getting in touch with them by as much as 100 times. And if you do so within 1 minute, the likelihood of converting them increases by almost 400%.
Every extra minute you take in reaching out to your lead affects your chances of being able to contact and convert them. And yet, the average response time of a company is 24 to 48 hours, making their odds of conversion a paltry 17%. So, the first thing you should do to prevent your leads from going cold is to decrease your response time.
|Pro Tip: Make a habit of creating a prioritized list of prospects. Sales representatives that have such a list are 19% more likely to call leads within 5 minutes.|
2. Schedule Communication Steps Smartly
Regularly following up is crucial, but you don’t want to seem like a pest either. There is a fine line between “gentle reminders” and “BUY MY PRODUCT!” communication. But, once you’ve crossed this line, it’s very challenging to come back.
A top-notch technique here is to agree on the next steps in your current communication itself. For instance, if you’ve got a call with them, add “I’ll call you back on Thursday to know what you think about this.” before the call ends. This way, when you do follow up, your lead will be prepared for it and may become a part of the 42% that are encouraged to make a purchase if the sales rep calls back at an agreed-upon, specified time.
However, if you’ve not been able to have any contact with the lead yet and are still trying to reach out to them, you have to be very diligent about the number of attempts you make. Did you know that 80% of sales requires five follow up calls, and yet, 44% of sales reps give up after only one? While you may feel like you’re being annoying by hounding your lead, that might not be how your prospect sees your attempts, with 75% of buyers expecting at least 2-4 calls before a company gives upon them.
If you’re using emails to contact your lead and haven’t received a response for a couple of them, it is best to ask them the reason directly in the next mail. Here is a template you can use.
How have you been? I have not heard back from you on taking our relationship forward and was wondering if one of these may be the reason:
You’re interested in [Your Product] but haven’t had the time to get back to me.
You (or your team members) have not made up your mind about [Your Product] yet.
You do not want [Your Product] anymore.
If your lead is interested, it will help them get in touch with you again without any awkwardness. If the lead is not interested, it will give you a clearer idea of why you haven’t been receiving any response and make lead qualification easier.
To know more about how to create compelling cold emails, go over this article.
3. Don’t Let Them Guilt Out
If your lead has disappeared on you after a few positive exchanges, it is either because they were too busy to respond or because their need wasn’t imminent enough to warrant a response or because they aren’t interested in your product anymore. If it is either of the first two options, it is likely that they missed replying to a few emails and are now avoiding you out of guilt.
You don’t want them to associate such a negative emotion with you because it increases the odds of them avoiding you even more. It is best to reassure them with a nicely worded mail that you understand that they are busy, and it is okay that they could not get back to you before. Let them know that you’re not in a rush and are available to them. Your lead will appreciate your empathy and will be relieved of not having to take a difficult step, and, in turn, more likely to get back to you.
4. Educate More, Interrogate Less
Of course, it is good to know who your prospect is in a sales relationship, but don’t forget why you’re reaching out to them in the first place. Your goal is to let them know about your product, about how it can benefit them. And if you spend the entire conversation trying to figure out who they are and where they stand, you’re going to lose valuable time you could have spent in roping them in.
The ideal talk-to-listen ratio of successful cold calls is 55:45, allowing you to ask enough questions but not too much. To be able to educate the lead about your product, you need to own the conversation. It may seem rude to do so at first, but that is how you will keep your lead engaged and interested. The goal of every sentence you utter should be to encourage your prospect to want to hear the next sentence that comes out of your mouth.
5. Involve Others From Their Team
No matter how well we generally handle our emails, when our boss or any other superior is in CC, we always tend to go that extra mile. Our emails are better worded, double-checked before hitting Send, and the most important of all, we always respond. Your prospect is no different. One-on-one emails are easier to forget or avoid, but when there are more people involved, your lead becomes duty-bound to respond. And while this reply may not always be a positive one, at least you’ll get an acknowledgment or a reason if they want to terminate their relationship with you. You can then work on the root cause before you approach them again.
For instance, if the lead finds the price to be too high to even negotiate, it may be easier for them to simply stop acknowledging your mails altogether. However, if there are other team members tagged, your lead will most likely share the reason for not being able to go through with the deal on mail. If it is feasible for you to offer a discount, you can work on it and approach the prospect on the same mail chain to let the negotiations progress.
6. Extend Your Soft Offer
You’ll never buy a car before taking it out for a test drive. Many of your prospects think the same way about your product. If they are going to invest in it, they would want to try it out first. So, when you feel like your lead is starting to act distant, extend your soft offering.
Lure them back in with a free trial or a simple demo to understand the features of your product. Did you know that in the SaaS industry, many product and service providers obtain 100% of their customers through conversions of free trials to paid subscribers? That’s reassuring data for other sectors too. When your charm stops working on them, pull the big guns out and let your product do the talking.
If your lead still ends up cutting off ties after trying the product out, then it’s unlikely that they would’ve invested in it later. So, instead of seeing the deal as a downfall, consider it as being able to cut your losses off sooner.
7. Build a Rapport
This is the purpose of all your calls and emails. Unless you can build a rapport with your lead, expecting a lasting relationship is a stretch. Your prospect should be able to connect with you if you want them to choose you over your competitor. In fact, 93% of buyers believe that your ability to collaborate with them is amongst the top factors that influence their ultimate purchase decision. Of course, in the end, your product will be the deciding factor, but the mutual understanding between you and your prospect is what will get him to the end in the first place.
8. Don’t Confuse or Overwhelm Them
You know your product inside out. Your lead does not. When you’re talking to your prospects, the worst thing you can do is make them feel dumb about themselves. Unfortunately, it’s an easy consequence if you’re not careful enough when propositioning your product. Instead of going completely technical on them with your product’s features, share how the product will benefit them, how it will change the way they work.
At the end of your discussion, your prospect should feel confident and smart enough to be able to settle on the next step. If a lot of unrequired technical jargon ends up making him feel overwhelmed and undereducated, it will not bode well for the odds of a second meeting.
However, this does not mean that all your leads are to be assumed technically incompetent. What you should strive for is to position your product in a way that anyone from your prospect’s team can understand its merits, and anyone who wants to go into technical details can get more involved if they wish to.
How Can You Revive Dead Deals?
While you have everything you need to prevent a lead from going cold now, don’t be disappointed if you still end up facing a few that do. For one, it is impossible to follow these steps to the T right away. They can only become a part of your regular sales process slowly and gradually, with consistent use. Secondly, a number of causes can result in your deals dying. It is important to understand the reason behind it and then take action accordingly.
Here are five things you can do to bring your dead deals back to the fold.
1. Change Your Question
If you have not received a response to your last email to the lead, have a look at what your close was. Most people, instead of saying ‘No’ to a request they can’t fulfill, simply do not respond at all to save themselves from the awkwardness. To get them back in talking mode, approach with a different, more effortless close.
For instance, if your close was, “When can I get in touch with your CEO?” and the person on the other end is ignoring your email, change your question to “Can we schedule a demo tomorrow?”. This way, you’re giving them an out. If you continue to badger them for something that they’ve only committed to on a so-so level or have already firmly declined, they are going to end up ceasing communication.
Remember, your goal is not to get a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No.’ Your goal is to keep your prospect engaged and, in turn, interested in what you are offering.
2. Bait Them With Content
The first thing anyone learns about sales is that a salesperson’s job is to offer value to her potential customer. What better way to provide value to your distant prospect than through content? The easiest and most effective way to reconnect, sharing your content can bring your cold leads back into the hot tub.
Simply email a link of the content created by your company with your prospect and tell them how it could benefit them. This is a great way to bring yourself back to your lost lead’s mind. In fact, you can even request your content management team to create content on different industries you serve. This will allow you to reach out to more cold leads from each segment.
|Pro tip: Do not use old content for this tactic. Let your prospects feel special by knowing that you remember them and that you’ve taken extra efforts to be of value to them. Old content would nullify all of this and make your email seem like a cheap sales trick.|
3. Don’t Forget About Them
We’ve all come across those prospects — the ones that ask a lot of questions about the product, that seem happy with what we have to offer, that give us hope that they are going to convert, and, in the end, they don’t. It’s incredibly frustrating, but, unfortunately, commonplace.
There is no need to lose hope just yet, though. 30-50% of users are not ready to buy when they first enquire about your business, but about three-quarters of these leads will potentially become sales-ready within 12 to 18 months. So, all those hot leads that suddenly turned ice-cold are not going to stay that way for long. And you can grab the opportunity when they are finally ready to buy. All you have to do is keep getting back to your old leads from time to time to let them know that you’re available and attentive to their needs if they still require that product or service.
4. Use the Nine-Word Magic
Email specialist, Dean Jackson, came up with a wonderfully simple but remarkable nine-word email template to revive a dead lead. If you have leads that are at least 90 days old, this step is for you.
Gather all the leads whom you haven’t contacted for 90 days or more. Note down what their inquiry was about. Send them this email — Are you still looking for a [inquiry]?
For instance, “Are you still looking for a digital marketing agency?” or “Are you still looking for a pool table?”
Ignore the temptation to add anything more than what they enquired about. As opposed to a generic email that lists the features of your product and why your prospect should buy it, you’re sending them one they are sure hasn’t been sent to anyone else. That makes your email a very personal one. Most people will respond to this email simply out of courtesy, especially if they still want what they enquired about. And, as we learned from the last point, over half of your leads will still want it.
If you want to know more about this strategy, here is a video of Jackson explaining it himself.
5. Employ the Power of Automation
Juggling between nurturing new leads and engaging old ones is time-consuming. Add the quota management, the data entry, and the lead qualification to it as well, and it’s clear that sales executives have a lot of things eating up their productive hours. Statistics support this statement — with sales reps spending 35% of their time on administrative paperwork and a meager 22% on actually selling.
On top of all of this, if reviving dead deals is included in your responsibilities too, something is bound to get sidelined. Lucky for the salespeople of 2020, automation can come to their rescue. With easy follow-ups, seamlessly executed cross channel campaigns, and several other features that make lead nurturing and lead resuscitating a breeze for you, automating your sales with an AI-powered sales prospecting platform like Clodura is the smartest step to take. Using automation will not only let you enjoy the perks of smooth sales operations but also give you more time to create a personal relationship with the leads that matter.
Bonus Tip: Let Go
If you’ve tried everything — absolutely everything — and still can’t get your cold leads to warm up, it’s time to let those prospects go. Accept that the deal wasn’t meant to be, and don’t beat yourself about the one that got away.
If you feel down and want to get out of the Sales blues, go over this wonderful collection of sales motivation quotes.
You’re All Set to Revive Your Dead Leads!
Reconnecting with a prospect who has disappeared on you is not only frustrating but very disheartening too. Luckily, with these tips in hand, fewer of your leads will go cold, and more of your dead leads will be brought back to life. However, it is important to remember that you could do everything right and still end up with dead deals. In such instances, it is best to be mindful of the fact that practicing the art of nurturing and cultivating your warm leads will only make you a better salesperson in the long run, even if it does result in minor losses once in a while.