Customer Experience News & Trends

Grab the attention of prospects you didn’t close the first time around

We all know the potential in prospects that have already turned us down. Changes in the economy, technology or in their businesses may make them prime candidates for renewed sales efforts. 

The only problem: If your approach is merely to “touch base” and see if they are in a better position to make a purchasing decision, you have the same “plan” as every other salesperson.

It may be a lot more effective to spend time evaluating the history of the account. There may be things you missed during your initial interaction that resulted in the stall. Uncovering areas you need to strengthen, realigning your thinking and developing a unique strategy to follow up may help you create new possibilities with prospects who have already said “no.”

A few ideas to help:

  • Determine why they really didn’t buy. The key is to get your prospects to speak with you openly. Try to uncover the real reason by asking questions about their goals, problems they’re facing with current vendors or service issues. Ignore excuses such as “high price,” “no need to change current vendor” or “no budget available.” Ask questions such as, “What improvements would you like to make in the product or service you’re buying now?”
  • Do more homework. It isn’t enough to simply understand the problem and provide a solution. Try to anticipate the prospect’s future needs. Where do they rank within their respective industries and how does that compare to past years? What changes are expected for their industries? Will the economy or technology impact their business? What are some of the problems they’ll face this year? How will utilizing your product or service help alleviate these issues. If you want to create a new purchasing opportunity, try to determine your prospects’ current, as well as future, needs they may not be able to identify themselves.
  • Get their attention. What should be the prospect’s primary motivation to listen to you another time? Determine a particular advantage that your product or service will provide. Be creative. There are probably dozens of benefits you could promote. It’s up to you to uncover the one that would motivate each prospect to speak to you again.
  • Become a resource. Don’t simply call to “follow up.” Take some extra time and weave in a compelling reason for your call. Is there something timely you can share with them about your product or service, or their industry? Try to add value without increasing your prices. Adding value at no additional cost to the customer may exceed their expectations.
  • Stop selling products or services and start selling measurable results. In order to provide solutions, you have to understand prospects’ problems. Prospects are more interested in what your product or service will do for them than what your product does. What problems are solved by your product or service? What end result or value will they experience from what you’re offering? Can it be quantified?

Adapted from: “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions,” by Keith Rosen of

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