Chad,

My prospect has gone radio silent on me. Why? Does that mean I've lost the deal? Can I save it?

-Sales Rep

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Hey Sales Rep,

When a prospect goes silent, or "radio silent" as it's often called, it's never a good sign. That's because actions speak louder than words.

At the very least, their silence tells you where you rank on their list of priorities: Not very high. More likely though, it means one of the following:

1. You've Lost the Deal and They've Moved On

Salespeople are the eternal optimists. But as tough as it is to accept, the most likely scenario is your customer has moved on.

Most buyers don't like to be the bearer of bad news, so they avoid you. They figure after awhile, you'll get the hint.

2. You've Lost the Deal but They Need a Plan B

This happens more than you think. They think if they don't tell you no, and things don't work out, they can pick up where they left off with you.

You've lost the deal. Don't let your optimism take this glimmer of hope and keep the opportunity alive. Close it and move on.

3. Their Priorities Have Changed, But They Don't Know What That Means

This happens especially in enterprise selling. New directives can come out, putting existing initiatives on hold.

Instead of scrapping all the work they've put in to date, many buyers will go silent while they try and figure out what the hold means.

This deal is dead. There's a chance it will come back, but my 20 years of sales experience tells me it's months if not years down the road if it does.

The cold reality is once a deal goes radio silent, you've lost the deal. There's little hope of bringing it back. You need to chalk this one up as a lesson learned.

And the lesson?

Have You Lost Your Ability to Guide the Sales Process?

Radio silence to me has always let me know I was out of sync with a buyer, or buying committee. That I was no longer guiding the sales process.

It's OK to not win every deal. No one expects that. But it's not OK to be surprised with radio silence.

The solution?

I've found that buyers don't always know how to buy. They especially don't know how to buy your product or service, from your company.

You do. You should be a student of how customers buy from your company. What are the major steps they take? What are the obstacles they consistently have to overcome?

Here's How You Guide The Sales Process

At every major interaction with your customer, simply educate your customer with your knowledge:

"[Buyer], what most of our customers have done next at this stage of the evaluation is [X]. Does that seem like an appropriate next step for you?"

This will either help guide the customer forward, or reveal their hesitations before they go radio silent on you.

Don't let it's simplicity fool you. Try it out and let me know how it works out for you. If you do it right, your prospects should never go silent on you again.

To your success,

-CP