In sales and marketing, the opposite of love is indifference.
If prospects hate you, at least they may be talking to you. If prospects are indifferent, they don’t engage at all.
Indifference is a major obstacle for sellers of both commodities and new, innovative products. For commodities, buyers are indifferent because they already have 5, 10 or 100 suppliers lined up. For new products, buyers are indifferent because they do not recognize a need. Either way, sellers have to overcome indifference. These techniques may do the trick.
- For a new product or service, invite the prospect to participate in a beta test. This reduces the risk of trying something new, but perhaps more important, makes the prospect feel special because you value his or her input.
- If you include a post-beta test case study or press release in the package, you may find prospects getting interested in the PR value of participating.
- Invite the prospect to participate in a focus group or (easier and more scalable) complete an online product survey. These options gently nudge indifferent prospects into a conversation, and it works because the conversation is about them, not about what you are selling.
- Make an offer prospects cannot refuse. Every buyer, no matter how indifferent, is hardwired to react to a great deal. A great deal involves one or more of the following:
o A deep discount from list price
o An extended warranty
o A money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee
o Free trials
o Free customization
o Free or deeply discounted related products/services
o Extended billing terms
o Free maintenance
o Free or deeply discounted replacement parts
o Generous trade-in allowance
o A creative idea all your own!
- Back up. The natural tendency is to push harder against indifference, like a football coach delivering a halftime pep talk. It may work in sports, but in business, ratcheting up the pressure is more likely to drive the prospect away for good. Instead, back up and try to ease prospects into engagement. For instance …
o Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter
o Send them a relevant case study
o Swag — T-shirt today, $500 order later
o Major swag — Leather jacket today, $5,000 order later
- Ask for an office/factory tour. Prospects may be indifferent to what you are selling, but they are excited to show off their company. A walk through the facility will get them talking, and probably open the door to other influential contacts.
- Give them a sales lead. Earning gratitude is a terrific way to turn indifference into interest. If you can refer a customer to your indifferent prospects, they will be thankful — and perhaps thankful enough to at least hear you out.
Over to You
What have you done to turn indifferent prospects into customers?