There are a number of opportunities in your pipeline that haven’t moved beyond the initial meeting or call.
Perhaps you agreed to follow-up with the client after the meeting, but every email you sent subsequently has gone unanswered.
Or maybe the client said that they needed to speak to their colleagues and that they would come back to you, but once again, they’re not responding to any of your emails.
You still believe there is a good opportunity with this particular client, so what can you do to try and move things forwards?
Don’t email — rather than spamming someone’s inbox, pick up the phone instead. As a Gen Y founder told me recently: ‘it’s scary, we don’t use the phone!’. But that’s all the more reason to do so: the phone is a salesperson’s secret weapon! Call them, it’s surprising how easy it is to get through to someone and how much you will learn from one short call vs weeks of sending emails.
Find an excuse to get back in touch — offering value is the best way to do this e.g. ‘I thought you might be interested in this piece of research I found/we conducted, given your interest in xxx that we discussed when we last met. Anyway, how’s it going…’
Send a monthly newsletter — this is a great way to remind people that you exist; offer value and thought leadership through interesting content; and will often prompt people to get back in touch with you if the timing is right. Make sure you keep the content short and snappy, you can always include links to further content.
Invite them to an event — don’t underestimate how interesting startups are to people in big corporates. If you can invite them to something that they wouldn’t normally get access to, they are highly likely to accept. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to spend some quality time with them. It will give you invaluable insight into what’s going on within the clients’ business that either helps you write a compelling proposal or explains why things have stalled.
Get in front of the key stakeholders/decision makers — identify who the key influencers are in one of your initial calls/meetings, then do what you can to get in front of them yourself, rather than relying on your main contact to speak to them without you being in the room. This is because the very best person to sell your offering is you: messages can get changed or diluted in translation. You also don’t know what your contact’s agenda is: are they really a supporter and what angle will they push? A tip for doing this without seeming too pushy is to offer to be in the room to answer any tricky questions their colleagues may have.