Here are four strategies. Pick the one most likely to work:
- STRATEGY #1: Ask a company-specific question. Example: "The economy is tough, but your company seems to be doing pretty well. Why is that?"
- STRATEGY #2: Address the situation directly. Example: "Gee, you seem a bit distracted. Is everything OK? Is this a bad time?"
- STRATEGY #3: Ask a rapport-building question. Example: "How did you end up in such an interesting job in such an unusual industry?"
- STRATEGY #4: Reschedule for another time. Example: "I can tell that you're really busy. When would be a better time to talk?
All these responses might work, but some are more likely to work than others. Here's how I'd rank them, from best to worst:
- BEST=#2. You need to figure out if there's an elephant in the room before trying to move the sale forward. You might find out that the prospect isn't really a prospect -- something it's better to know now than later.
- SECOND BEST=#1. This might get the conversation going in the right direction, but if the prospect is truly distracted, the question might just get shrugged off. Worse, it might annoy the prospect.
- THIRD BEST=#3. This would only work if you've already built up a fair amount of rapport, which doesn't appear to be the case. And there's always a possibility you'll end up sounding smarmy.
- WORST=#4. Face-to-face calls are difficult enough to get and simply postponing might result in the same situation later. Also, you run the risk of seeming rude and critical towards the prospect.