Sales Quiz: How to Handle a Zombie Customer

Last Updated Jun 8, 2010 5:02 PM EDT

A zombie is a customer who doesn't buy, but remains in the pipeline. A reader recently emailed me:
I'd like to hear your advice on how to handle a lead/prospect who was engaged and responsive right up to the point where they got the price. . . and then went silent. Sometimes these zombies come back to life in the next 12 months or they stay dead. How would you suggest getting closure on a cold prospect while at the same time letting them know they can re-engage when they're ready to buy?
What's the best way to handle this situation? Your choices are:
  • #1: Provide an easy way to contact you. Make sure that the zombie has a high-quality brochure, your business card, and your assurance that you're there when you need them.
  • #2: Consistently keep it in the sales loop. Send frequent emails updating the zombie on product upgrades, special deals, etc., so that it will keep you in mind when it's ready to buy.
  • #3: Start the sales cycle again. Work with the zombie to identify the full impact of not buying and gain agreement that the impact is real and properly quantified.
  • #4: Exhume it from your pipeline. A zombies is, by definition, dead. So why are you wasting your time worrying about a deal that's dead and most likely to remain that way?

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