What to do when prospects are too busy to talk

Too busyPay-off: engage more prospects, more successfully

Investment: 4 minutes

Sign up to weekly posts here

You might have seen the cartoons below.

Frustrated salespeople share them on social media for light relief.

Clearly, there’s some truth in them. And they’re amusing. But keep in mind that while you’re busy laughing at them, the next person could be getting a whole lot more value from them beyond just a giggle…

2 things to learn from the cartoons that could make you more sales

There are two things that immediately come to my mind as I look at the cartoons that could help you create significantly more value for both yourself and your clients.

I’ll reference the square wheels cartoon as I explain:

1. It’s funny. For a moment. Until you hear your competitor just sold your prospect the wheels!

What’s not funny if you think about it, is this picture isn’t a picture so much of the prospect’s problem.

It’s a picture of your problem.

Their busyness is stopping you doing your job as effectively as you could be.

And laughing (too much) at this is like pointing the finger. And you know what that means don’t you?

I’ve seen many salespeople point their fingers at prospects and imply that they’re stupid for not buying their solutions. Good luck to you selling to someone who you believe is an idiot. (Again, how many fingers are pointing back at you? How many?)

Who’s daft?

Thinking that they’re daft assumes the lack of engagement is nothing to do with you or your approach.

Which is daft.

And it assumes the customer is feeling the pain but not doing anything about it. But they might not be feeling that pain. They might be feeling more pain from you?

Maybe they like square wheels?

Maybe they’re sticking to a less effective approach right now consciously in alignment with their resources and strategic objectives?

Maybe you’re a bit daft about their reality?

Why some people do apparently daft things

That person with a Fitbit looking ridiculous as they over-pace around your office might not need or want you to tell them a more efficient way to walk from A to B.

The guy jogging with a rock in his backpack might not want that rock removed.

It’s not always a problem that needs or wants to be solved. Problems, and value are in the eye of the beholder.

If it looks daft, how about doing your job properly and giving it some closer examination?

One noteworthy reason people are too busy to talk to you

Your challenge is to get the attention of the person who cares (or suffers) most about the outcome, respectfully engage them, draw their attention to how they’re doing things, and explore if it’s a pain point or opportunity they want to attend to.

If I was coaching the guy selling the round wheels (and only once did one of my clients look like that) (kidding) who wasn’t getting the engagement he wanted, I might ask him:

– how do you think you came across to them? Did you pick up on any signals that they like, respect and trust how you’re engaging them?

– can you confirm to me why they said they’re using the square wheels?

– how painful and costly are they finding it? How do you know?

– are you talking to the person who both feels that pain and can do something about it? (Can they decide to buy a solution?)

– to what degree are they aware that there are better options than square wheels? (Have you discussed both round wheels and also the option of getting a drone to transport goods?)

Nine out of ten people will struggle to answer most of these and attempt to blag some answers or tell stories why they couldn’t get this info. Then they’ll shuffle off, pour a warm drink and crack up at the cartoon.

If I didn’t get convincing answers out of them, I’d probably tell the wheel salesperson:

“Yep – that’s why the customer is too busy to talk to you.”

2. The second reason why it’s not so funny is: you’re pushing your own cart with square wheels too, buddy.

We all approach some things ineffectively. Some of us aren’t so hot at selling efficiently, preferring instead to laugh at cartoons that frame us as ‘okay’….

Perhaps some useful questions are, “where am I using square wheels? What’s it costing me? What value could I connect to clients and get back in return if I found some round wheels for my sales approach?”

If you think you or your team might have square sales wheels and could do with round ones, check this out for yourself, and this out for your team/business and let me know if you want to talk. I’m UK based but I can fly. (With the help of a plane.)

Do you think someone in your network might like to read this?

If you found this post useful then perhaps some people in your network might like it too? Please consider helping it reach them with a like and a share – many thanks!

Sign up to weekly posts here

Scroll to Top