For that reason, skepticism should be your number one strategy.
Why has your prospect returned and why now? A number of things happened with your prospect since your last conversation and you need to hear their story. What they share could be predictive of what will happen next and what you should do. For example:
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|What They Might Say||What That Could Mean||What You Should Do|
|We have one more question||They will go cold again as soon as you answer the question||Ask them a question. Why did they call you back? Do not accept “because we had a another question for an answer. Instead, mention that they didn’t return calls and emails for two months so why now?|
|We would like a proposal||They are moving forward but at what speed and with whom?||Ask how many proposals they are requesting. Ask why they included you. Don’t accept out of respect for the time you already invested. Instead, suggest that it doesn’t sound like you are their first choice so why are they including you?|
|We want to meet||A good sign – they like you enough that it won’t be a waste of time||Schedule time to meet and ask what is on their agenda and their desired outcome of the meeting. Then ask if you can share your agenda and outcome.|
|We want you to present||They are moving forward but at a snail’s pace.||Ask how many companies they invited to present. Ask why they included you. Don’t accept out of respect for the time you already invested. Instead, suggest that it doesn’t sound like you are their first choice so why are they including you?|
|Our [top-ranking executive] wants to talk with you||A good sign – they like you enough that it won’t be a waste of time||Schedule time to meet and ask what is on their agenda and their desired outcome of the meeting. Then ask if you can share your agenda and outcome.|
The reality is that in most cases, prospects go cold when you weren’t talking with the right person. When they return from their self-imposed ice age they are still the wrong person so don’t expect anything different to happen unless the top executive decision maker is fully engaged.
You could even experience these issues if you are talking with a weak decision maker who needs to build consensus. Decision makers go cold too if they don’t get the consensus they are looking for.
If you maintain a healthy level of skepticism, ask plenty of questions and keep your discussion conversational you will get a much better sense of where you really are and whether you will get the business.
Even though the prospect has returned, you can reactive the opportunity in your CRM application, and the odds are no longer 0%, don’t become too optimistic. In most cases, the odds are no greater than 49%.
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