How to Break-Up with A Prospect

May 5, 2021

Every sales leader has seen it. The never-ending sales prospect that won’t move forward and close a deal, but also won’t break away from the back and forth of trying to land a meeting or book a call. The hope is always there, but the results never seem to come. A break-up is inevitable, but where do you draw the line? How much effort are you supposed to put into a potential lead, and when should you throw in the towel and call it quits? 

As a sales leader, your time is valuable: time = money if it is utilized in the right way. With that being said, it also takes commitment to maintaining a regular cadence to close deals. There is a fine balance between being consistent and transgressing toward redundancy. Below are the steps we recommend you take to ensure you are not wasting your time, but also not giving up on a potential lead too early. 

Initial Meeting with “Lead” 

Before you wrap up your first meeting with a potential lead, you must try and land a second meeting while the connection is live. This is similar to the notion that if two people are both enjoying a first date together, a second date will be planned before the first one is even over. This is how you know the prospect is interested and eager to learn more. Book in a date and time to ensure scheduling isn’t an issue down the road. Once this is booked with the necessary parties and the first call has ended, be sure to immediately send a review of what was discussed. This will be a great point of reference for the lead moving forward.

Booking the Second Call

Once the review email has been sent and you have thanked the lead for their time on the initial call, send the calendar invite. This will ensure that no time has passed where the lead could have double booked or overlooked the agreed upon date. In this calendar invite, include an agenda of items that will be discussed during the second call. This sets expectation for the prospect, so they know what they are signing up for by confirming the meeting. Do not over commit them to a long call time or too many agenda items. This may deter them from attending. 

The Second Call Stand-Up 

The initial call has been made, the second call has been scheduled, and the agenda has been set, but your phone call has yet to be answered during the agreed upon time. This is common and will happen more times than not during a sales process. Be sure that you are thorough in your attempts to reach them through various channels. Try reception, try their cellphone and send off a quick email reminder. People are busy and missed calls are to be expected. It doesn’t always mean they are uninterested or changed their mind since the initial call. 

The Line Has Gone Silent 

In many cases, the prospect had something come up last minute or was running late with another meeting or had a family emergency. The possibilities are endless, and as a sales leader, you will be sure to hear them all at one point or another! If you receive a response, rebook a new date, and send the invite immediately. However, if the line suddenly goes silent and you do not receive a response or reason, don’t let that be the end of the road. 

Send an assumptive message to the lead that suggests they must have had a busy week and next week may work better for them. Immediately after this email, send another calendar invite with the proposed agenda. Consider trimming the agenda or call time down if you think the first one could have scared them off. This makes it easy for the prospect to accept and rebook. 

The Inevitable “Break-Up” 

A one-sided relationship in any situation is unhealthy to maintain. Pressing on could lead to hostility or annoyance, however, just leaving the communication hanging in mid-air could come off as inconsistent. It is time to “break-up” or in other words, disengage with the lead. Send an email letting them know that your most recent attempts to connect have been unsuccessful and you are going to assume that they are no longer in the position to discuss potential opportunities further. Let them down gently, as any passive-aggressiveness or irritation in the messaging would be taken as extremely unprofessional. Don’t give up there. Follow-up in a few months to see if the lead’s situation or circumstances have changed. The door may be reopened for a discussion at this time.

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Donna Gliha, Chief Sales Officer / President

A proud nominee of the 29th Annual  RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards

Alyssa Huizenga
Director, Business Development

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