Silence Really Can Be Golden

By Caryn Kopp, an EO New Jersey member and Chief Door Opener at Kopp Consulting, LLC

Have you ever waited for a prospect to return your call? And he doesn’t? You call again, you email and still no reply? Arrrggg! How frustrating! Recently, a prospect asked me for a proposal. We were an exact match for his needs. So why didn’t he show for our confirmed follow up call and didn’t reply to my next two emails? I found out why and I’ll share it with you.

In the absence of knowing the truth, we can sometimes fill in our own narrative. Some business owners and sales people faced with a prospect’s silence will label the prospect rude, conclude he’s not the kind of client they’d want and cut contact. Others will leave an ultimatum message like, “If you don’t call back I’ll assume you’re not interested.” These actions can lead to big missed opportunities.

I submit that the “silence zone” is a critical part of a budding relationship. You can either endear yourself and have your prospect become your biggest fan OR you can alienate him and never again be on his radar. If you’ve invested time (and perhaps money) into the relationship, doesn’t it make sense to give your prospect the benefit of the doubt and hang in there? You have no idea what’s happening in this person’s work life or home life that makes him respond to you the way he does. Roll up your sleeves and find out!

When I realized my prospect wasn’t going to join the call, I wrote him an email.

Subject line: Missed you on our call.
Email body: “I’m sorry we didn’t connect today for our call. Here are a few times I’m available in the next few days so we can reschedule. Please pick the one that works best for you. Monday or Tuesday at 10 a.m., and anytime Wednesday between 9 a.m.-11 a.m.”– silence.

Four days later, after no reply, I emailed again.

Subject line: A personal note
Email body: “I am concerned about you as I haven’t heard back. No problem if you need to hold off on our business discussion but I want to be sure you are ok.”

A few days later I received LinkedIn message saying there had been a family emergency and he needed to resolve it before he could do anything. Two days after that he reached out via a friend request on Facebook. He wrote that he was very appreciative of my concern. His family matter was taking priority but when finished he would resume our conversations. He wrote that he also saw benefit for our services for a second company as well.

The morale of the story is that our prospects are people. Focus on the health and depth of your relationships with people and the money will follow.

Caryn Kopp is the Managing Director and Chief Door Opener® of Kopp Consulting, LLC, a nationwide company whose Door Opener® Service helps clients secure initial meetings with high-level, hard-to-reach decision makers. They also help clients prepare for important prospect meetings and close sales sooner. Kopp is the author of  The Path To The Cash!® The Words You NEED To Bypass Those Darned Prospect Objections! You can reach Caryn at or [email protected].


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