Why Hot Prospects Go Cold and What to Do About It

By Maryalene LaPonsie | Posted January 02, 2013

Every businesses owner loves it when customers walk through the door ready to buy. Buy why do some of these seemingly solid prospects end up fading away?

If you have trouble getting previously-interested customers to return your calls or commit to a purchase, it's possible that you need to overcome one of these three problems.

Your Sales Presentation Turned Them Off

If you find that your hot prospects frequently cool off, your sales presentation could be the problem. People are busy and often want immediate answers to their questions. Red flags tend to go up if your sales pitch is too lengthy, or if you provide vague answers to their questions. Do your best to be as transparent and as succinct as possible.

While meeting potential customers in-person is often preferable, customers may dig in if you insist on revealing details only during a face-to-face encounter. Make it easy for prospects to get the information they need, and remember that those initial phone calls and emails are your opportunity to feel out your prospect's position before you waste your time on someone who isn't serious.

Just Another Bid

Your hot prospect may indeed be ready to buy -- just not from you. Business clients may be required to find multiple bids before making a purchase, and retail customers may be shopping around. In both cases, they may have a sincere desire to find a better deal, or they may be looking for leverage to convince their current supplier to lower their price or offer better terms.


Before you spend hours meeting with a potential client or crafting your proposal, don't be shy about asking some preliminary questions. Depending on the circumstances, find out:

  • Who has previously provided you with this service?
  • How satisfied are you with your current service and pricing?
  • Why are looking to switch providers?
  • Who else are you considering?
  • Have you worked with these companies before?

The answers to these questions can help you determine whether your hot prospect is sincerely open to buying from you, or if he's simply going through the motions before ordering elsewhere.

Not Ready to Buy

We've all had moments where we've wanted to fix a problem and fix it now. Your prospect may have felt a sense of urgency when he initially contacted you. But then other priorities took over, or he found a temporary solution to the problem.

However, that doesn't mean these types of prospects will never make a purchase. It's simply that their immediate need has passed. Keep these individuals in the pipeline by adding them to your direct mail lists, and ask their permission to keep in touch. Depending on the size of the sale, you may want to add them to your holiday card or birthday mailing lists.

Understanding why hot prospects cool off is important. Not only can it help improve sales, it helps you make better use of your time so that you can focus on your serious prospects.

Maryalene LaPonsie has been writing professionally for more than a decade on topics including education, insurance and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Western Michigan University.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

Comment and Contribute


     

    Explore our site

    Get free tips, news and advice on how to make technology work harder for your business.

    Submit
    Learn more
     
    You have successfuly registered to
    Enterprise Apps Daily Newsletter
    • webcast video
      Microsoft Publisher Tips This video shows you how to create great-looking business brochures with Microsoft Publisher 2003.
    • webcast video
      Photoshop Tips In this video, we show you how to improve on or eliminate ugly and unwanted backgrounds.