The "Social Enterprise" is what companies strive to become in today's global environment. Far beyond social media there are social platforms addressing just about every possible requirement, including Social ERP.  

While internal initiatives and stakeholders are striving to become more transparent, more open, available, and collaborative...anyone in sales can say executives are busier than ever, and those initiatives to be as warm and fuzzy as possible don't include outstretched arms to vendor sales reps.

How can you connect with people that are dodging calls, not responding to emails, and just plain unresponsive?

First, assess what is really going on.  

  • Are they really avoiding you or just busy? What is often perceived as a deliberate snub is really just back to back meetings, back to back calls, hundreds of emails, and just not enough time to respond OR they don't even know you are there.  
  • They could be dealing with some serious personal issues.  

Bottom line is it isn't related to you.  When reps personalize it and respond as though it was a snub, the dialog never happens.  One rep I know of said "if they want to talk to me, they can call me back..I left them a voicemail and I'm not going to keep calling them." The sad thing is most of the prospects didn't even register they called, and those were prospects that reached out to THEM.  

I can use an illustration like juggling, you might be able to juggle 3, 4, 5 balls (or flame throwers, chainsaws, or swords for the more advanced--I prefer koosh balls personally....) but you reach a point if you keep adding things the whole thing crashes and you drop them all.  The term "I am juggling a lot of things..." really takes on a lot of meaning with some empathy of what is going on in their 11+ hour workday.

What about someone that was really interested and now they are hard to reach?  Many reps give up, or they think they aren't really interested--when in fact they are, they just need you to be more persistent.  

Another trend I am hearing is a rep does connect, and then actually verbalizing at the end of the call/meeting "Is your interest genuine?" What prospects hear is "are you worth my time? Should I spend any more time on you?" This is wrong on so many levels, first...are reps so busy they can't talk to a huge prospect?  Many prospects that were in fact interested will reduce their interest to "just sent me something..."  That kind of impersonal and openly selfish question will kill interest on the spot.  There are lots of vendors with lots of similar solutions, they will buy from you because it's a good fit and also because it was a great experience to work with you.  To this day, I have certain vendors I will not spend a dime on, good solution or not, because their company culture is to treat their customers like they don't matter. 

Reps do well to consider what is going on with their prospects and how they hear what they say.  I have said this before, ask yourself "Would you talk to you?"  Imagine if you were thinking of making a purchase, and you had YOU pursuing YOU.  Would you annoy YOU?  Would you say you aren't interested even when YOU are?  

It's good to reflect how your prospects are interpreting what you say, how you are reaching out to them, and what you lead with.  By having empathy and putting a real-life lens on what is happening, you can make an anti-social prospect receptive to engage.