This blog was originally posted by Kendra Lee on her site in April 2016. She listed it as one of her top 2016 posts on her year end review.

One of the most frustrating things for a sales rep is when the prospect you had a great conversation with goes silent and starts avoiding you. You might assume that it’s you or they’re disinterested, but that’s not necessarily the case. This happened to me with one of my Canadian prospects and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why. After 8 weeks, I learned from his assistant that his wife had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and died suddenly.

So, it’s not always about you.

When your phone calls go unanswered then it’s time to take a different approach. Here are 10 creative prospecting strategies to try:

  1. Change your value proposition. The business issue you originally connect with them on may not be the real problem. Try different business issues and see if there is one that will resonate.
  2. Follow prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter and engage with their posts. If you’re connected on LinkedIn, send a message letting them know you’re trying to reach them. If you’re not, then get connected.
  3. Call your prospect’s assistant to confirm they’re not just busy. Request time on their calendar – even if it’s a month away.
  4. Make additional connections within the company. You get some extra information about the company and they can help you reach your contact.
  5. Check your network for someone who can give you a referral or update. You might ask an existing client who knows your prospect to contact them and share why they should meet with you.
  6. Start a drip email campaign. Your emails need to be relevant and highlight your thought leadership. When they see that you’re not giving up, your prospect may cave and reply.
  7. Send them relevant digital content, like an article or video with a personal message. Mention why you thought they’d be interested and ask for a meeting to discuss how the content applies to them.
  8. Grab a book on a leadership topic that they would really enjoy. Highlight some insightful sections and send it to them. Consider: Traction by Gino Wickman, People Follow You by Jeb Blount, and People Over Profit by Dale Partridge.
  9. Mail a personal note in a hand-addressed, stamped envelope. Let them know that you’re sorry you’ve missed them but would enjoy talking.
  10. Send something lumpy with a hand-written note letting them know you’d like to connect. This could be a fun desk trinket or something like a Starbucks gift card with an invite to meet for coffee.

Try more than one prospecting strategy for the best chance of success. Just don’t give up on a prospect until you’ve determined they shouldn’t be a prospect anymore.