While sales isn’t the easiest career out there, it is definitely one of the most rewarding. The only way you can expect one of your accounts to close is by first having prospected it. But you’ll soon learn that not all prospects are the same- and no, I don’t mean just their titles or the companies they work for. During my first year in sales, I quickly realized that some people were harder to prospect to than others. But it’s the chase that’s kept me in the field.
This is a prospect that I’ve personally encountered a lot of, and they’re the easiest to build relationships with because they’ll have you follow up every 3-6 months. Now is not a good time, no matter what new features your company rolls out. Each call, you learn a little bit more about them, and they’ll remember you and commend you on your persistence. They want your tool, but it’s not the right time for the company, no matter which rebuttals you toss their way. So, you put in a note to call them back in 6 months. Maybe December will finally be a good time to talk.
You’re messaging a prospect and they loves your pitch. They tell you that this is exactly the type of tool XYZ needs, and of course they’ll take the meeting! But it comes down to finding a time that works for both of you, and they never respond. But you don’t want to be that SDR who just randomly threw a time on their calendar. You keep messaging…and calling…and leaving voicemails…but they just vanish into thin air. Hopefully they’ll appear again before the end of the month.
After a long and draining day, you finally get a “yes” from the perfect prospect! You send the calendar invite out, and research as much as you can about the company and prospect, smiling the whole time. Then meeting time rolls around, and they cancel! But that’s okay, because you know how crazy life can be. So, you both agree on another time. The same thing happens. This cycle continues for 3 more months because you keep hoping that their schedule isn’t so chaotic, or they ultimately let you know the real reason they keep cancelling- they were just too nice to let you know they simply aren’t interested.
You spoke to a prospect, and they either agreed to a meeting or asked for a follow up. Whatever the case may be, they opened the door and you’re doing what you’re supposed to in sales-keep the dialog going. Everything is going amazing, and then one day they hit you with the “I never even heard of your company!” Or my personal favorite, the “I told you to remove me from your list!” I understand that being a Director,VP, or CxO, they have a lot going on. They’re constantly speaking with other SDRs and it gets confusing to know which tool you were and were not interested in. Which is why I keep screenshots and notes of every conversation, so I can gently remind them that we have spoken before, it was a pleasant chat, and that I’m not sneakily trying to convince them or the gatekeeper that we spoke when we actually never have. Otherwise, I would feel like the confused one.
You eventually find the one person who makes every buying decision in their company related to what you sell, and you call them. You two joke around for a bit, easing your way into the pitch. You find out immediately that they aren’t interested because the way their company has been doing business for 50 years works. You dust off your old sales book and pull every tactic and rebuttal there is. But they still won’t budge. They refuse to fix what’s not broken, and that’s the end of it. There is no changing their mind right now, or even 5 years from now because they don’t realize that technology is changing the way we do everything. Maybe they’ll reach out down the line because they’ll come to terms with the fact that their company needs new tools in order to keep up with the competition. But you just need to hope that day comes because there is no convincing them.
Darrean Janes was an SDR for InsideSalesTeam representing DiscoverOrg for a year, and is now at SD Squared. Outside of work, she loves going to the beach, hiking, and traveling. The views are strictly Darrean’s and do not necessarily represent those of SD Squared.
Darrean, great article! You have me laughing because these situations are SO relatable. In my opinion, the most frustrating is “The Ghost.” I’m interested to hear how you have overcome these prospect personalities in your own experience.