Recently I’ve had a number of questions from readers of this newsletter about what to do when you get a prospect on the telephone and they will not engage, but instead, simply hang up on you.
I know that there are many who say that if you are going to cold call, you simply have to toughen up. Rejection comes with the territory and you can expect that prospects will often hang up on you.
In the 25+ years that I have been in business, that has never been my experience. As a matter of fact, I can recall only a handful of times where a prospect has hung up on me, so I decided to do a little unscientific research.
First I asked our Director of Coaching, Jennifer Hasan, how many times in her career prospects had hung up on her. (I first trained Jennifer in business development about 15 years ago and until she came to work with us she had spent the last 10 years prospecting on the C-level and setting appointment on behalf of her clients.) Jennifer’s answer was: Once. (That’s one time in 15+ years…)
Then I asked my 2 business development executives who set appointments for me if being hung up on was an everyday occurrence. They both said “no” and neither could remember the last time someone had hung upon them. After that, I started asking clients who’d gone through my training programs if prospects were hanging up on them. They all told me, “no.”
While I understand that the fear of having someone hang up on you is very real, the question: “What should I do when the prospect hangs up on me?” is not the right question to ask yourself.
Certainly, if someone hangs up on you, you can call them back and say, “I think we were just disconnected” or call them again in a few days as it is unlikely they will remember your previous call.
The real question, however, is that if prospects are hanging up on you much of the time: Why is that happening?
In prospecting, as in real life, people respond to what you say to them. If prospects are frequently hanging up on you – they are responding to what you are saying. What this means is that they don’t hear a reason to engage and to speak with you. And perhaps, because they are on the phone, they feel a little bit freer to act in a way they might not if you were standing directly in front of them. That said, when you have a short and compelling introduction and great delivery, prospects listen to what you have to say. They engage and they set appointments. They do not hang up on you.
Rejection and prospects hanging up on you absolutely do not come with the territory.
So, dear reader, what should you do when prospects hang up on you? Fix your introduction. That way, prospects will stop hanging up on you.