Sales & Marketing

When someone in your pipeline becomes unresponsive, don’t give up right away. There are steps you can take to reawaken their interest

By Dwarka Lakhan |

Some of your prospects might not be ready to work with you just yet, or perhaps they have simply gone "cold" or become unresponsive for any of a variety of reasons. This lapse in communication doesn't necessarily mean that you cannot regain their interest some time later.

So, rather than dropping these potential clients from your mailing list or tagging them as "dormant," it might be worthwhile to keep them "warm." After all, they got on your prospect list in the first place because they expressed some interest in what you offer. 

"Unless a prospect has clearly indicated that they no longer wish to receive any communication from you, there is still a chance that you might regain their interest by staying in touch," says Nadira Lawrence-Selan, marketing and communications consultant with Hathleigh Consulting in Woodbridge, Ont. "You simply want to remain top of mind without using high-pressure sales tactics."

You can do so by periodically sharing information of interest to these prospects or inviting them to selected events. "In the end," she says, "your persistence might very well pay off."

Here are some tips for keeping in touch with prospects:

> Share relevant information
Assuming you have obtained the prospect's permission to send them e-mails (as required by Canadian anti-spam legislation), you can share relevant news articles, videos or strategies they might be interested in, based on your knowledge of the prospect.

For example, you might send the prospect an article on finding higher yields in the current low interest-rate environment to pique their interest.

"Never push products," says Lawrence-Selan. "But make sure that you can provide advice or solutions on the subject matter in case the prospect is interested and contacts you."

You may also share information related to the prospect's hobbies.

> Invite them to client events
Invite prospects to special client events where they can get a chance to meet and interact with your existing clients. Even if they don't attend, Lawrence-Selan says, they will appreciate the gesture.

If they confirm their attendance, be sure to speak with them at the event. Arrange for a few trusted clients to chat with them as well, Lawrence-Selan says. These clients can be your "ambassadors," she says, who can "champion your cause."

> Send a thoughtful gift
Depending on how much you know about your prospects, you may wish to send them a small gift.

"It shouldn't be expensive," says Lawrence-Selan, who suggests a coffee table book or a book related to the prospect's hobby.

You also can send gifts on holidays or on prospects' birthdays. "The key is not to be seen as being overzealous in landing the prospect's business," Lawrence-Selan says, "but to maintain the relationship — if you believe it's worth maintaining — and build some level of interest over time."

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