This put-off is as old as the hills. It kept many a marketing department busy coming up with new collateral material. And salespeople historically took it as a real sign of interest.
Prospects learned long ago that asking for information was a fail-safe way to get rid of salespeople quickly. Whether you respond by snail mail or email, the concept is valid.
On cold calls this scenario seemed to be played out with consistent precision. The prospect would say, “I don’t have time to talk right now, but why don’t you drop some literature in the mail (or give me your website) for me to look at.” The salesperson, misinterpreting this for genuine interest, would put together a “package” of information and put it in the mail. A week later, he’d call the prospect only to hear one of two responses.
- “I haven’t had time to look at it.” (And the chase would begin.)
- “I don’t recall receiving it.” (At this point the salesperson would typically send another package, and the marketing department would marvel approvingly at how fast their collateral was flying off the shelves.)
Remember, some prospects simply don’t want to hurt your feelings. They’d rather have you chasing windmills (remember Don Quixote?) than ruin your day with another rejection.
If you’re still falling for this old trick, here are several ways to deal with it.
Reward & Refocus: “I’d be glad to put something in the mail. Can you tell me specifically what you would like to have information about?” (Prospect responds.) “That’s interesting, why is that important?”
Easy Exit: “Sometimes when people ask me to send information what they’re really saying is that they’re not at all interested, but just don’t know how to tell me that. Is that the case here?”
Colombo: “I can do that, but I’m not sure what to send. Can you help me understand what would be important for you to see?”
Let’s Pretend: “Let’s pretend I sent you some information and you liked what you saw. What would happen then?”
This is another case of being absolutely prepared to respond in a way that keeps you in control and gives you the opportunity to continue qualifying instead of supporting the Postal Service.
Self-Study Assignment: How often do requests for literature happen to you? How often are they sincere expressions of interest? If you get this request frequently, you must commit all four of these scripts to memory.