What do you do when you have a great sales or fundraising conversation with a person but then they stop responding?

They’ve already made the decision to buy or give – or at least they say they have. But they haven’t yet given or purchased.

This is so frustrating!

Many of our coaching clients have recently shared versions of this story.  These people are not high-pressure sales people. They are people who honestly care about their donor or client. So the lack of response is more than just not responding about a cash transaction, it’s about ignoring a personal relationship too.

What to do When a Prospect Ignores You

So what do you do? I recently shared three ideas with #FollowUpFriday subscribers.

The third suggestion will probably surprise you. But it will transform your success.

(1) Don’t Stop

The first thing is to continue to be “pleasantly persistent.” Hopefully you set yourself up for success by saying something like, “That’s great. Do you mind if I check in If I haven’t heard from you in 7-10 days?” That way, when you follow up, you’re simply being a person of integrity, a person of your word. Plus, not all communications get through. Especially with email, algorithms are constantly changing so it’s quite possibly they haven’t yet gotten your message.

(2) Mix Up Communications

People are really busy. And our relationship isn’t their primary concern. People tend to have one form of communication that they find easiest for them. In this situation, our job is to find out which form is. Some people reply to texts faster than email or phone. Others like Facebook’s Messenger. I even had one person who wouldn’t reply to phone, texts, or emails but would instantly reply to a “Google Chat.” I didn’t even remember that Gmail had a “chat” feature!

(3) Make More Calls

This is the most important, albeit counter-intuitive, step. But it is vital for the health of your organization and for your peace of mind. When you get super focused on the person who’s not responding, you develop tunnel vision. You completely forget all the people who might respond. It’s like just focusing on the ball in the center of the picture above. The more you focus, the easier it is to forget the entire picture is FULL of balls!

Pinning all you hopes on one or two people puts far too much pressure on those relationships. How do you know if you’re doing that? Pay attention to resentment. If you’re feeling resentful to the non-responders, it’s a good sign that you’ve stopped moving forward.

There are an estimated 7.7 billion people on the planet. Billion. There are other people to contact. These new calls may feel like long shots and a waste of time. Do them anyway. 

And track your progress. One of the best ways to counter stress as a leader is to be able to see that you actually are doing the right activities. And making calls to new people definitely is one of those “right” activities.

Don’t Grow Cynical

These three things aren’t perfect but they will help you move your organization and goals forward. And they’ll help your sanity!

People we’re working with are busy and distracted. Part of our job as leaders of departments or organizations is to help them take action with us. Another part is to keep reaching out to new people so that all our hopes and dreams are not pinned to one or two people or accounts.

While it would be great if people just did what they said they would do. But they don’t. (Pro tip: neither do we!) So keep up a mix of follow up and reaching out to new people.

What about you? What are your strategies for dealing with the frustration of people not replying? Tell us in the comments!

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