How many times have you followed up with a call or an email, only to find the prospect has changed the arrangement or won’t return your call or refuses to talk to you again?
This happens very often and can drive us to distraction, because you’d got their agreement or even a promise…then it just goes all quiet.
Is there a way you can develop a sense of commitment from a prospect, with no pressure and yet get them to follow through?
While there’s no hard and fast rule, you can increase your chances of getting a favourable result.
Most times, we find ourselves making a request or a suggestion as to what will happen next.
Maybe it’s something like, “Is it OK if I give you a call next Friday to further these discussions?” or “I’ll send the brochure through and drop you an email to follow up. Does that sound good?”
You’ll probably get a positive response from those questions, sometimes just to get you off the phone.
But your follow-up falls on deaf ears or doesn’t get a response.
What can you do instead that will increase the chances of a reply or reaction?
One of Robert Cialdini’s suggestions is to use the power of the Law of Consistency.
Cialdini says that when someone makes a commitment, similar to a promise, they then increase the obligation on themselves to follow through or live up to that commitment.
If you just say what you are going to do (as in the example questions above), there is no ‘obligation’ on the prospect to actually do something.
Whereas if they feel they have to do something, there’s more likelihood they will keep that promise.
Not every time, of course, but more frequently.
Here are some examples:
“If you find you aren’t able to make the meeting, would you send me a quick email or text so we can reschedule?”
“Will you talk to your manager about this before we meet next week so you can get her ideas too?”
“Will you forward the details of the production schedules so I can prepare for our meeting next Monday?”
“If I send you a calendarised request for that call, will you accept it so it’s in both our diaries, please?”
Do you notice that all these requests are getting a commitment from the other person?
They are asking them to actually do something, as opposed to being a passive participant.
They are more likely, then, to keep that ‘promise’ they have made, rather than it just being a request from you.
Try building commitments rather than making requests and see what difference it makes to your communications.