So, you found the perfect prospect through LinkedIn. You made first contact, an amazing introduction. Over a few weeks you built your relationship and waited until the time was right. Then you hit them with the pitch… and they don’t buy it.
First off, it’s not the end of the world! It might be painful to fail in your pitch to a prospect you’ve spent weeks or even months buttering up, but you can’t win them all. At least not the first time around.
What’s important in this situation is not to sulk, and make sure your next step is in the right direction. They said no to your offer, but that doesn’t mean the door is closed. There’s several steps you can take to keep your foot in and catch that prospect the next time around.
At the point of purchase…
At the point of conversion there’s three things that can happen:
- They don’t buy at all
- They buy from a competitor
- They buy from you (hooray!)
Before we look at what you need to do, let’s look at why they may have made this decision…
1. If they don’t buy at all
Don’t be too hard on yourself (or your sales team). There are plenty of reasons why prospects don’t buy.
- Cost: Maybe your prospect just doesn’t have room in their budget right now. This doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with your pitch, or that they won’t buy from you at a later date.
- Priority: Perhaps there’s other more pressing purchases for your prospect to make before they buy your product.
- Market forces: Recessions, price of goods and other external factors (global pandemics, for example) are beyond the control of yourself and your client and can make it impossible to buy.
2. They buy from a competitor
Ouch. It’s not nice to learn you’ve lost a prospect to a competitor. First, ask yourself why they went with the competitor. This is usually for three main reasons:
- Price: If your competitor has a cheaper product, it’s possible that they’ve made a promise they can’t deliver on. It’s an old adage that “if you buy cheap you buy twice”, but if your competition fails to deliver, you want your name to be at the top of the prospect’s inbox.
- Relationship: Maybe your prospect has a pre-existing relationship with a competitor. This kind of inside advantage can be difficult to overcome. But a good relationship with a rival salesperson doesn’t mean that your competitor has a superior product. Relationships may open doors, but if they don’t deliver, you want to make sure yours is the door they come knocking on.
- Perceived risk: Perhaps your prospect bought from a competitor because there was a lower perceived risk with purchasing from them. Consumers are less likely to risk buying more expensive products, or from less established companies. Perceived risk can be reduced over time as your brand becomes and more established and reviews and recommendations begin to spread. Keep your prospects sweet and, in the meantime, see what you can do to reduce perceived risk.
3. They buy from you
I know this blog is called “what to do when a prospect doesn’t buy”, but it’s important to note that even if a prospect coverts, it’s still not the end of the story. In fact, it could be just the beginning. Some of the benefits of maintaining communication with your customer are
- that customers who have already used your product will be more likely to purchase other products from you since they know you as a credible supplier.
- They may choose you over your competitors for other products. The cost and logistical benefits of having fewer, bigger, suppliers means you always have the chance of increasing your sales to the same client.
- Promoting your brand through regular communication will help you keep up with competitors. Remind your customer why they opted for you over your competitors to begin with!
So what do you do now?
The answer is simple. Keep in touch.
- Make sure they are on your mailing list. Regular email campaigns, sharing case studies, articles and whitepapers ensure your prospects are kept aware of what you are up to. There’s a chance they will unsubscribe, but only if your communication is too frequent and not relevant.
- Connect with them on social media. When you’re connected, you will stay in the back of their mind, in readiness for the future.
- Go to the same events. Particularly if they are local to you, “bumping into them” once in a while maintains awareness and gives you the chance to keep talking about how you’ve helped other clients.
- Call them. Nobody says you’re not allowed to call them every few months. Just because they didn’t buy before doesn’t mean they won’t in the future, and the personal touch could sway things your way.
It’s never nice to lose a prospect after you’ve spent resources promoting your business and time building a relationship. But it’s not a waste. There’s no reason for your relationship with the prospect to change: the economic climate is always moving and you want to put yourself in the best position when your prospect is looking to buy again.
Get back on the horse, keep communicating the value of your product and wait for the time and effort you’ve invested to pay off down the line.
If you need some assistance in ensuring you stay in touch with old prospects, give us a call on 020 8634 5911 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org