The title says it all!
In the field of communications, radio silence refers to a period or condition when radios are not transmitting.
In military operations, radio silence is usually a command issued from above, as out of fear that an enemy might intercept a signal. And maritime radio operators, for example, might follow a directive of radio silence in order to hear faint distress signals.
In sales, radio silence is when your prospect or customer ain’t talkin’ . . . to you.
How many times have you met with your prospect (engineering, quality, purchasing, etc.) spent hours crafting a perfect solution, spent even more hours preparing a detailed quote, met with them again, submitted the quote, followed up, & then… nothing. They go radio silent.
Radio silence is a killer of salespeople. It’s a spirit-crusher of sales organization. Period.
Sounds like: He won’t get back to me. She won’t reply to my email. He won’t return my voice mail message.”
A Sales Coach is about to ask a stupid question: Why in the world would the prospect be so open, so willing & so engaging, before they get their quote? Why wouldn’t they? Prospects need quotes. Sometimes 3, 4 or 5 of them. They must be open, willing & engaging during the process or they might end up with nothing. Funny how it turns out though. It’s always every company, but one, that ends up with nothing. Just the way your prospect planned it. Prospects plan their radio silence.
Sad fact is, there are many, many companies that are all too willing to provide the perfect solution & detailed quote. Some even think that’s what they are in business for. Their motto is: “Who needs a quote?” And they quote.
Let’s be clear; the solutions are great. These companies do very good work. They are technical experts, creative masterminds, experienced mavens in their field. And the prospect knows it. The prospect needs that expertise. They are in a competitive business, too. They need to add as much value to their customers & clients as possible. And they do-so at the expense of you.
Do they tell you what they are up to? Hell no. They don’t talk to you, remember. When they needed information from you, they answered their phone & replied to your emails – at all hours. Now, when you need an answer (a decision) it’s as if they were in the witness protection program. Radio silence.
Question: How many times, in this short year of 2022, do you known for certain that you have educated your prospect or customer just enough to buy from your competitor? Your expertly designed solution helped some other company win the business. Do you like this? One thing is guaranteed: they are talking to the company that won.
Then why do you continue to do it?
Let’s start by changing the motto. Instead of, “Who needs a quote?” we should ask, “How qualified is this opportunity & what are our chances of winning it?” “How can we get to reality quickly?” And be honest. Most salespeople think every meeting is great. Every opportunity is “in the bag”. Every quote is a 90% plus confidence level. They put on their “happy ears” & hear what they want.
Then, when you look at their closing ratio, they are running at a 5 or 10% clip rate. Something’s amiss. Most salespeople are overly optimistic. To say they live their sales life wearing rose-colored glasses is an understatement.
What to do?
Let’s get to reality. Start managing expectations.
Get aligned with your prospect. Know exactly what they want to accomplish. Be crystal clear about their objectives & make sure they match up with yours. It’s OK to push-back. It’s very credible & professional to make suggestions. It makes no sense to agree to something you can’t do. That sets the wrong expectation in your prospects mind & will always come back to bite you.
Let’s qualify the opportunity.
Qualified DOES NOT mean they buy what you sell. Qualified DOES NOT mean you are an “approved supplier.”
1. They have an issue, challenge, problem (let’s call it PAIN) that they admit to wanting to fix or change & you have discussed it
2. They have the money to pay for it (& you have determined the amount &/or had the “money conversation”)
3. You understand who all the decision makers are & know how they go about making these decisions (the process)
Tired of radio silence? Get to reality quickly & start qualifying these opportunities. Let your competition carry on with their, “Who wants a quote?” motto.