Why You Should Actively Abandon Some of Your Leads.
Becoming a Better Sales Rep — Post #36
As sales professionals, we care about closing the deal. Everything we do is with the hope and dedication to eventually have a signed contract that somebody is gonna use our products or services in exchange for something.
So, most salespeople easily get into the mindset that they need to close as many deals as possible and that losing a lead is a sign of failure.
But, this mindset isn’t helpful at all. Sometimes, salespeople need to proactively abandon deals. Let’s see when and how!
When Should You Abandon a Deal Proactively?
Teddy, are you out of your mind? Why should I do this? Well, let’s take a look at a few examples which — when viewed objectively — will speak very clearly to you.
- If Your Lead Stated That They’re Not Interested More Than Once: Face it. Sometimes one “No” can be turned into a “Yes.” But, if someone repeatedly tells you they’re not interested, chances are high that they actually are not interested. (I know this idea sounds crazy.) Don’t take it personally or as a challenge. They simply don’t want your product.
- If Your Lead Continuously Pushes You Back: Has your lead rescheduled your meeting for the second time now? Well, chances are that you’re not enough of a priority to them. This is particularly true if this is a follow-up meeting. With first meetings they might not know how valuable your solution is. But if you already talked to them and they’re pushing off a follow-up meeting, you can assume that you’re not on their priority list.
- If Your Lead Fails to Follow-Up With You: Similarily to #2, if people don’t respond after three follow-ups, don’t invest too much of your time trying to get them back into the conversation. A good stress test here is to “go negative.” This just means that you write something like, “I’m sure you’re busy. I’ll stop reaching out. Let me know if I can help you with anything in the future.” It might be that people are just busy but still interested. This message will usually trigger them to write you a short note back. If they don’t, you know you shouldn’t invest much more time.
- If You’re Putting Substantially More Work and Time Into the Deal Than Usually: Sales needs to be cost-efficient. If you’re spending four times as much time on closing a deal as you usually would, let go of it. Don’t just walk off but let your lead know that you’ve invested a lot already and that you can’t provide any additional free resources before they make a decision. It’s business, they need to and will understand it.
View it like this: you shouldn’t run after a person that doesn’t like you back. You might still be doing it but you know it’s wrong. So, be a great sales professional and notice your and your lead’s behavior. And, then, be proactive. You want to be a sales leader; act like one!
A Few Important Considerations, Tho!
When you start abandoning leads, you should do it with caution, tho.
It’s not that I’m suggesting something just to then tell you that you shouldn’t do it. No, it’s just that you should be very smart about implementing this strategy.
Follow these guidelines to make this strategy successful:
- Be Clear in Your Communication: Don’t just stop communicating. State that you’re stopping. Let them know where you’re at. Include a reason if appropriate. But deliberate and let them know where they’re at. Everything else might make you appear unprofessional; like you just forgot.
- Be Respectful: You don’t want to close doors for the future. So, just because somebody doesn’t want your product, doesn’t mean you must rub your frustration into their faces. Be kind, and keep doors open for the future. In the end, you’re the face of your company. Sure, I don’t have a Netflix account, but I might one day. If someone would tell me something bad about Netflix and how poorly they treat their customers, I might very well continue to refrain from purchasing a subscription.
- Feel Free to Reach Out In the Future: Just because you ended something now, doesn’t mean they’re never gonna be opportunities with the same account in the future. Sales is very much about being there at the right time. Something that isn’t a priority for your lead right now, might very well be a priority in the future. People can only focus on so many things at the same time. Your leads have problems to solve; this is what they’re being paid for by their bosses. And they must focus on the most crucial ones because they only have limited time. But times change and issues are resolved and new ones arise. So, reach out in the future and check in. If the experience with you has been pleasant, they’ll very likely join a call with you.
- Feel Free to Reach Out to Other People in the Same Account: You might just not vibe that well with a particular lead or they might focus their work efforts on something that doesn’t need your solution. Their colleague at the desk next door might have a very different view, tho. People are different. So, feel free to reach out to multiple people at the same company. I’d even encourage you to do it! However, don’t overdo it and if you target super small companies, you might also wanna be a little bit more careful with this strategy.
- Always Consider Context: Your lead is not answering your e-mails on Dec 27th after you had sent them two messages the days before??? Well, chances are, they are on vacation and enjoying some well-deserved family time. I know the example exaggerates the point a bit. But, your lead might really be busy because there’s a major conference or because they’re busy with year-end filings. Whatever it may be, be considerate and try to find out if there might be a good reason why they’re not responding or pushing things off. The easiest strategies are to google around a bit or to just ask them directly.
- Consider the Reality of Sales: Don’t abandon conversations after two messages. It takes an average of 13 interaction points before you get people’s attention. So, don’t give up to early. Just don’t do too much.
But you might still be wondering why the heck you should be abandoning leads. If they don’t want to buy your product or service, they’ll, at some point, themselves drop out. Why not try to convince them otherwise for as long as possible?
As a salesperson, you’re a business professional. Don’t fall into sunk-cost fallacy, meaning: don’t spend more money on something that is already lost.
Let’s look at the benefits of abandoning leads:
- You’ll Free Up Time for Valuable Tasks: Every minute spent on an unpromising lead, is time you don’t spend on a promising lead. So, do yourself a favor and stop wasting time on opportunities that are already lost.
- You’ll Save Costs: Similarily to #1, every minute you knowingly spend on an unpromising lead, you’re literally burning your companies money. And you’re there to make the company money.
- Your Revenue Will Increase: Although your close rates might not go up — they might even go down -, you will still bring in more revenue. Simply because you’ll spend less time on every lead, you’ll speak to more people. However, as you won’t waste time on unpromising leads, you’ll be better off in terms of absolute revenue. Every sales metric should always be interpreted in context. (;
- You and Your Company Will Be Respected: On the one hand, there’s nothing needier than begging for a deal to close. And by trying to close someone who directly or indirectly said no, you just come across as needy. And second, you’ll be annoying. So, rather than being perceived in a negative way, just own it that this isn’t leading anywhere. Be the one who states it. Your leads will respect it and will know that you’re someone who looks to create value and not just to sell people stuff they don’t need.
- You’ll Be More Confident: People who own their pipeline and can say “no” are the ones who are truly in control of it. And, being in control will boost your confidence in your work and make you a more successful sales rep.
And, a little bonus is that people often want what they can’t have. Once you make things unavailable, people sometimes tend to suddenly want them. (;
So, If You Don’t Want Resonaid, Don’t Use It. But, Make Sure to Give It a Try Before You Make a Decision.
Resonaid is a tool that writes personalized messages for your sales outreach. It identifies unique and personal hooks that you can use to send out messages that are customized for every single lead. It literally takes all the work away from doing outreach. So, rather than spending 5 hours reaching out, it’ll only take you some 30 minutes.
Make sure to give it a try, if you haven’t already!
Access Resonaid via the Chrome Web Store.
Resonaid is a tool that helps sales professionals with writing personalized messages for their sales outreach.
We recently released the first version of our product as a Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store.
As we just went live this summer, you can currently test Resonaid for free and get large discounts by being an early user.
About the Author.
Teddy Lange is a co-founder at Resonaid and is responsible for business development and customer experience. Before joining Resonaid, he’s been a Sales Rep and Junior Sales Manager, and co-founded various companies. He’s currently finishing his graduate degree in Public Policy with a focus on communication at Harvard University. Feel free to reach out to him at email@example.com.