True Story: I May Have Misjudged Your Interest


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A true story, but the names have been changed to maintain privacy.

Recently I received an email from a marketing/advertising sales professional who read my blog post on how
to deal with prospects who disappear into the proverbial black hole.

She decided to try my "let them off the hook" strategy. Here's what transpired.

Subject Line: I may have misjudged your intentions
My apologies if I’ve crossed a line to become your dreaded professional stalker. It’s apparent that I’ve misjudged Generic System's interest and/or situation.
If and when the opportunity arises, please know I’ve tracked down the insider’s connection to the huge success being experienced by a business very similar to yours. Additionally, the short and affordable jingle we discussed is working its magic for [email protected].
Please call or e-mail if there's any thing I can do for you or your organization.


60 Minutes Later She Got This Response

You haven't crossed any lines. We've had several issues here unrelated to marketing/advertising. And now we have examiners here, so we're spread pretty thin at this time.

We appreciated you coming to us and still have all of your information here. Hopefully things will settle down so Cindy & I can talk and make some type of decision.
My apologies for not communicating that to you sooner. We will be in touch, I promise!


The Lesson to Be Learned

  • Even if your prospects like your ideas or products, you're not their #1 priority. 
  • Don't be afraid to contact your prospects to let them off the hook. If they're still interested, their guilt about not returning your calls causes them to update you on their status.

What do you do when prospects disappear into the black hole?



  1. Jill: great point about why it’s important for salespeople to understand the rank of their product or service on a prospect’s “to do” list. It’s our job to elevate our priority in the prospect’s mind, but it’s impossible to be effective in that effort without having empathy for whatever else he or she has on the plate.

    Can customers take advantage of relentless salespeople? Sure–it’s called “no need to return the message. I’m sure Steve will follow up again tomorrow.” The lesson: your communications will be devalued of they’re incessant–and predictable. Letting prospects “off the hook” is similar to withdrawing an offer–and quite powerful for generating a quick response, as your example illustrates. “I understand that you might have other priorities at this time. I won’t place another call, but if you’re priorities change, I’d value the opportunity to speak with you, so please contact me at 703.000.0000, or by email . . .”

    A motivated prospect won’t let the opportunity to solve a problem slip away.


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