That’s ones of the most common brush-offs you’ll hear from prospects when you’re on a call or email seeking a solid 20 minutes of their time and attention. And guess, what? Most salespeople send over the literature hoping to change the status of the lead as “warm” in their CRM.
If one were you to track conversions of all the “send me literature” requests over a period of time (let’s say 5 years) you’ll be thoroughly depressed. I’m not kidding.
Listen, people don’t want to be rude but they sure do want to prove a point — that they have the authority to make or break it for you. Some purely want to get rid of you. Or think of your as a pest. Can’t blame them. Considering the positions they’re in all they can do is reject your advances without even understanding what you have to offer. And by that, I mean that they just pretend to have the authority and aren’t really the real decision makers in the first place.
I’ve had countless back and forth with prospects who enthusiastically confirm their availability for a quick 20-minute call, but then leave me hanging! Oops! They were stuck in meetings and didn’t really have time for me. Sure, I understand. Things happen. We’re all busy with stuff anyway. “When do you think would be a good time to reconnect on this?” And then they drop the bomb, “Sunil, why don’t you send in some information about your organization. We would like to review it before we set up a call.”
Keep in mind they’re asking for the same freaking document I’d sent them in the very first message!
I used to default to sending them the darned literature. Who wouldn’t? In fact, if you’re selling something you probably should do it before your competitors send out their shiny brochure. Right? Well, here’s what happens after you send the literature… crickets!
And this my friend, is the story of our lives as business builders. Of course, we move on to other prospects but 8 out of 10 leads would be people with a genuine appreciation for (sales) literature. I couldn’t understand the reason until I realized what was going on: I was falling into the buyer’s trap. Yup, they’ve got one too. Nobody taught them. It’s just their self-defense mechanism at work. It kicks in whenever they’re in a position to commit (when they really shouldn’t) or don’t really have a valid reason to actually have a conversation with you.
I know what you’re thinking — why the heck would they then agree for a call in the first place? Well, I’ll be honest. Just for kicks! Think from their perspective, accepting an “invitation” has got a different ring to it. Definitely makes them feel important. Not showing up surely does give them an upper hand. They’re in charge. Asking for literature isn’t any different. They’re just doing what they default to.
It’s human nature, I guess.
Since I’m someone who doesn’t like to play games (unless by choice) I choose to push back a little. Why? Because my time’s valuable. Just like my prospects. So, if they ask for literature, here’s what I tell them (this is just one version of them):
As much as I would love to send you one of our service overview presentations today, there’s a challenge. I’ve got like 39 of them!
And since I haven’t quite understood what you’re looking for, I am not quite sure which one to send you.
What usually happens after you go through a literature like this?
How about this — we go ahead and schedule an appointment for Friday, I send out a literature (either a specific one based on your requirements or just a general introduction to our company) today, giving you time to review the literature and we can go over it together and determine if there is value in a business relationship.
Does that make sense?
Guess what happens? Crickets! What else?
However, there’s one major benefit — you will move on faster without wasting your time waiting for unqualified prospects who just want to waste your time.