You’re trying to get ahold of that prospect but he’s not returning your calls or your emails. Maybe you’re reaching out to a cold lead. Or maybe all you want is an update. Is he interested or not? Is he buying or not? Is he moving forward on that quote you sent him, or not? Should you write him off your list so you (and he) don't waste any more time? You’re not selling snake oil. You believe that your product or service will help him. If he’s not interested that’s fine — all you want is the courtesy of a reply!
I’ve been there. You’ve been there. So, what can you do? After 20+ years of selling I’m going to tell you what: you grow a thick skin and resort to a few shameless sales tactics. These are real-life things that I have done, and still do, shamelessly. Because they work, not all the time but enough of the time. Sure, I may risk going to hell for doing any one of these, but for now I’m still sleeping like a baby.
1. For starters, ignore his office number and call his cell phone.
You got the number from his signature on one of his emails, so it’s not exactly private. You call that phone early in the morning or as late as PM. When he picks it up you act surprised and say “Oh Dave, I’m so sorry, I thought this was your office line and I was just leaving you a message….you know…about that open quote?”
2. Refer by first name.
When you do call his office, ask for him by first name only. “Hi, I’m looking for Dave please?” Oftentimes, the gatekeeper/receptionist will just put your call through without questioning your familiarity.
3. Say you’re “returning” his call.
OK, this may be shameless lying. But on the scale of lying it’s pretty far down the list. You're just “returning” the call he owes you by saving him the trouble of making it. Telling the receptionist that you’re “returning” a call will get you right through almost all the time. If the prospect confronts you (which is unlikely, because he doesn’t remember who he called or didn’t call), at worst it will be “Hey, I never called you.” Blame it on a mistake with something like “Someone here said you did, I’m sorry.” Then move on as if he reached out to you with “I was under the impression that you needed help with…..”
4. Send him the same email twice, about five minutes apart.
Then apologize in the second email saying the first one “bounced back” and you’ve been having email issues. Did he receive?
5. Send him six duplicate emails all at the same time.
Then you wait two minutes and send him a 7th email that profusely apologizes for the other six. Say there was a glitch with your email software and, oh by the way, how about that open quote?
6. Email him with the subject line “Are You OK???” (include the multiple question marks too).
You ask if he’s been ill or if there’s been another problem. You emote sympathy and concern. Of course, you’re not concerned — or sympathetic — but there's a fair chance he’ll reply when he thinks you are. Then you emote great relief and ask him about the status of your open quote.
7. Find his boss.
Troll online until you find out who’s the VP for his division or someone else in a superior role. Email the VP with the same concerned subject line. “I just want to make sure Dave’s OK,” you write. “We were talking and then he went silent so I’m concerned. Can you please let me know?” Chances are the boss will forward that to Dave. Remember, you’re not harassing. You’re just a concerned colleague, right? Right.
8. Change your domain.
Setup email addresses from other domains, like Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. Then send him an email from those domains. It’s possible his spam filter is stopping stuff from your domain.
9. Spam him.
Yes, that’s right: I said spam. But it’s a light spamming. You create a list of people in your database who will be sent a template email maybe 3-4 times a year. This is not a newsletter or a packaged marketing thing that would normally need someone to opt-in. It’s just some type of check-in, no different than if you were sending them an email check-in individually, but in bulk. When you get a response that you don’t like (“remove me from your list”) you take action accordingly. But hey…at least you finally got something! And you’ll be surprised, too. By doing this you’ll get others who will reply with something like “this kind of fell of the radar, but we’re ready to talk again.”
10. Text him.
Yes, go ahead and text him. A quick message of concern – “Hey Dave, sorry to have to send you a text but my emails aren’t getting through to you. Are you OK?”
Related: 5 Rules for Texting Anyone You Do Business With
11. Message him on LinkedIn or Facebook.
For some reason, people seem to reply to these more so than a typical email. They also seem to get caught less frequently in spam filters. Speaking of spam filters, you cite this as the reason why you’re emailing him on LinkedIn/Facebook. “Not sure if my other emails were getting caught in your spam filter so….”
12. Tweet at him.
If he’s a Twitter person, then tweet him. Make it informational, like “Hey Dave…here’s a great article you might enjoy. Are you available to speak?” Follow him on Twitter and if he follows you back (ding!) then send him a direct message. Sometimes people pay more attention to their Twitter feed then their email.
Shameless? Yes. Effective? You betcha.