If you’ve been selling for a while, you’ve probably had at least one experience in which your prospect suddenly started giving you the "silent treatment."
Anthony described this dilemma very poignantly when he called me a few weeks ago:
"Ari, I don’t know what to do when I get hit with the ‘silent treatment’ -- you know, when I’ve worked with a prospect for quite a while, and we’ve had great conversations, and they've expressed interest in our solution -- and then all of a sudden everything stops.
I try calling them back once or twice. I even send a follow-up e-mail, but nothing. They just disappear. And I figure I’ve lost the sale, and I don’t know what I did wrong, or what to do next. It makes selling feel like such a painful and arduous process."
If this has happened to you, you may have felt anxious and confused. You may have told yourself, "It’s not as if I’m the one who did anything wrong. I put everything into the relationship. How can I rescue the sale if I can’t even get them to talk to me?"
The "Hopeium" Trap
There is a pressure-free way to reestablish communication when your prospect starts giving you the "silent treatment." But first, it’s important to understand why the situation has happened in the first place.
Most of us who sell get caught up in "hopeium," a comical term that means we focus our hopes and desires on making the sale. But hopeium can be a trap, because it's impossible for you to keep in mind your most important goal: to learn your prospect’s truth.
When we fix our minds on the outcome -- making the sale -- we automatically begin anticipating how the process will go, and we also begin expecting that things will happen as we hope they will.
But if we’re in that mindset and our prospect suddenly breaks off communication, we feel lost, anxious, frustrated, discouraged, and confused. We become preoccupied with what went wrong.
We may even feel betrayed.
Is there any way to clear up the mystery?
Yes, by giving up your agenda and learning the truth about where you stand with your prospect --and being ok with whatever the truth may be. "But how can I learn the truth when they’re avoiding me?" you may ask. "And why do I need to let go of the sale?"
Let’s take the second question first.
If you approach your prospect while you still hope the sale will happen, you’ll introduce sales pressure into the relationship. This will push your prospect away from you and destroy any trust you have developed with them. Instead, you can eliminate sales pressure by telling them that you’re okay with their decision if they’ve decided not to move forward.
In other words, you take a step back instead of trying to chase and follow up with calls because you’re focused on getting a "yes."
The bottom line is:
When a prospect gives you the "silent treatment," it doesn’t mean you’ve lost the sale. It just means you don’t know the truth yet.
What you need to do is call and learn the truth.
Why is learning the truth so important?
Here are 4 important reasons:
1. You stop losing confidence in your selling ability. The "silent treatment" threatens our "hopeium." We start blaming ourselves. We don’t know where we stand -- a painful state of limbo. Our self-talk is negative and full of self-blame, and we’re on pins and needles wondering whether the sale will still come through somehow.
2. You increase your selling efficiency and decrease your stress level. Once you learn the truth about your prospect’s situation, you can either stay involved with the prospect or move on. I often say, "A ‘no’ is almost as valuable as a ‘yes.’" Why? Because it frees up your time to find prospects who are a better fit with your solution. This lets you work much more efficiently because you can quickly weed out prospects who aren’t going to buy. Knowing the prospect’s truth lets you walk away without that guilt-laden voice whispering, "If you give up, you don't have what it takes."
Learning your prospect’s truth translates into tangible results that equal real dollars. You’ll also put an end to the self-sabotaging stress that comes from living in "silent treatment" limbo.
3. Sales pressure pushes prospects away. When you respond to the "silent treatment" with calls and e-mails, you’re really telling them that you’re determined to move the sales process forward -- which means you’re looking out for your needs, not theirs. This makes them mistrust you and run the other way.
4. The "silent treatment" -- totally breaking off communication -- is how prospects protect themselves from sales pressure when they don’t feel comfortable telling us their truth. The more we press, the more they run.
But the opposite is true, too. The more we relax and invite the truth, the more straightforward they’ll be with us. Prospects feel okay sharing what’s going on with them when they know we’re okay with hearing it.
How to Reopen Communication
After Anthony and I had talked about some of these issues, he said, "This all makes a lot of sense, Ari, but I’m still not sure what to say when I make that call."
It’s simpler than you might think.
* First, simply give your prospect a call. (E-mail and voicemail are very impersonal, so use them only as last resorts if you can't reach your prospect after several phone calls.)
* Second, take responsibility and apologize for having caused the "silent treatment".
Here’s some language I suggested to Anthony that will make prospects feel safe enough to open up and tell you the truth about their situation:
"Hi, Jim, it’s Anthony. I just wanted, first of all, to call and apologize that we ended up not being able to connect. I feel like somewhere along the way maybe I dropped the ball, or I didn’t give you the information you needed. I’m not calling to move things forward because I’m assuming you’ve probably gone ahead with someone else, and that’s perfectly okay. I’m just checking to see if you may have some feedback as to where I can improve for next time."
When you respond to the "silent treatment" this way, the results will probably surprise you. You may even learn that the prospect has legitimate reasons for not having gotten back to you.
You’ll also find yourself more productive and less frustrated. It’ll make a world of difference in your productivity level, your stress level, your income, and how much you enjoy what you’re doing.
You haven’t lost the sale. You just don’t know the truth yet.
A few problems that some new MLM marketing people have:
1. No upline support.
Once a person joins a new MLM marketing program, he or she is vulnerable and needs a lot of help from something or someone.
In many cases, the uplines are not actively helping them. This happens a lot when the uplines are simply sponsoring as many people as they can with no regard to what happens to them after they get sponsored.
In most standard MLM marketing programs, it is important that the new person gets immediate assistance from a local person, or tools that you have. Otherwise their chances for survival are very slim.
2. New MLM marketers cannot sell.
This is probably the major reason most people do not make it MLM marketing. By using standard MLM techniques, you have got to sell and learn how to speak at opportunity meetings and the like.
3. MLM'er cannot generate good leads.
Next to the selling problem, this has to be the next biggest reason most people fail in MLM marketing.
Here is a picture of what normally happens. The new person has just signed up in an exciting MLM program. He is taught by the manuals, meetings and so forth, how he should "share" his product with his friends, neighbors and relatives.
Normally, he is not comfortable with this, and if he is typical, he will have many sleepless, tossing and turning nights. He just doesn't want to "impose" on his friends! He would feel a lot more comfortable just presenting his opportunity to strangers.
4. No true duplicative system.
If the MLM marketing company must be promoted through expensive methods, this is not feasible.
Learning how to sell, or to speak and conduct an opportunity meeting is just not duplicative. Only a few people can do this. Here again, is a very important reason a lot of would be MLM'ers die on the vine.
5. Selling by mail using standard MLM techniques.
Traditional way to marketing MLM is to spend all spare time to call around and travel around to get prospects. A lot of people already have full time job, it is hard to find extra time to travel and make phone calls. This is why these MLM marketers cannot keep their program going.
6. The marketer is not sure about the MLM marketing company or service.
Often a person will sign up in a MLM marketing program in a "fit of excitement." After the dust clears, he comes down to earth and reality slowly sets in.
Pick an established and financially sound MLM company that is at least two years old with unquestionable products or services. That way, you can feel good about the company and products that you are promoting. There is nothing quite like being able to "tell the complete truth" to your prospective customers.
7. They do not stick with it long enough.
Starting any company takes time, and this is true with an MLM marketing program as well.
By the time you study the program, write and receive literature: study this and sign up; get the literature, etc. a lot of time has been spent. And then you have to generate your leads and so on.
It will take several months before you can expect much of anything to happen to your MLM marketing. You should set in your mind that you are going to stick with this for at least sometime. That just makes good business sense.
Rebates have become increasingly popular in the last few years on a lot of items and certainly on electronic items and computers. Rebates of $20, $50 or $100 are not uncommon.
I’ve even seen items advertised as “free after rebate”. Do these rebates come under the heading of “too good to be true”? Some of them do and there are “catches” to watch out for but if you are careful, rebates can help you get some really good deals.
The way a rebate works is that you pay the listed price for an item then mail in a form and the bar code to the manufacturer and they send you a refund thus reducing the price of what you paid for the item except with a time delay of several weeks.
Rule #1. Rebates from reputable companies are usually just fine.
You can be pretty sure you will get the promised rebate from Best Buy, Amazon or Dell but you should probably not count on getting one from a company you’ve never heard of. If you really want the product and are OK with paying the price listed then buy it but don’t count on actually getting the refund.
Rule #2. Check rebate expiration dates.
Many times products will stay on the shelf of a retailer after the date for sending in the rebate offer has expired so check that date carefully.
Rule #3. Be sure you have all the forms required to file for the rebate before you leave the store.
Rebates will almost always require a form to be filled out, a receipt for the purchase and a bar code.
Rule #4. Back up your rebate claim.
Make copies of everything you send in to get your rebate including the bar code. Stuff gets lost in the mail all the time and if the rebate is for $50 it’s worth the trouble to back up your claim.
Knowing what your risk tolerance and investment style are will help you choose investments more wisely. While there are many different types of investments that one can make, there are really only three specific investment styles – and those three styles tie in with your risk tolerance. The three investment styles are conservative, moderate, and aggressive.
Naturally, if you find that you have a low tolerance for risk, your investment style will most likely be conservative or moderate at best. If you have a high tolerance for risk, you will most likely be a moderate or aggressive investor. At the same time, your financial goals will also determine what style of investing you use.
If you are saving for retirement in your early twenties, you should use a conservative or moderate style of investing – but if you are trying to get together the funds to buy a home in the next year or two, you would want to use an aggressive style.
Conservative investors want to maintain their initial investment. In other words, if they invest $5000 they want to be sure that they will get their initial $5000 back. This type of investor usually invests in common stocks and bonds and short term money market accounts.
An interest earning savings account is very common for conservative investors.
A moderate investor usually invests much like a conservative investor, but will use a portion of their investment funds for higher risk investments. Many moderate investors invest 50% of their investment funds in safe or conservative investments, and invest the remainder in riskier investments.
An aggressive investor is willing to take risks that other investors won’t take. They invest higher amounts of money in riskier ventures in the hopes of achieving larger returns – either over time or in a short amount of time. Aggressive investors often have all or most of their investment funds tied up in the stock market.
Again, determining what style of investing you will use will be determined by your financial goals and your risk tolerance. No matter what type of investing you do, however, you should carefully research that investment. Never invest without having all of the facts!