It happens to every company. We work hard to foster a relationship with a prospect. We invest time and energy into learning about their organization. We get excited about helping them achieve their mission & being a part of their success. We submit a proposal. They select someone else.
There are many reasons why we don’t close a sales opportunity, even when it seems we have done everything “right.”
Much of the rationale links back to how qualified the prospect was in the first place, and if there were underlying factors that we ignored or didn’t discover (such as incumbents, additional decision influencers, budget). Sometimes, however, a great prospect just doesn’t close.
The two things we need to do when this happens are:
1: Maintain a positive mindset to shift quickly and keep going.
2: Keep the lines of communication open with the prospect.
Maintain a Positive Mindset
Our mindset is the single most important tool in our organizational toolbox. It drives our confidence, our behaviors, and how we engage with others. To quote my close friend and mentor Dr. Willie Jolley, a best-selling author who is ranked one of the top five motivational speakers in the world, and has the #1 motivational show on SeriusXM, “When someone says NO, you say NEXT.”
We can’t take it personally when someone doesn’t select us. Obviously there was a misalignment between what they needed and what we offered. However, this was a business decision. We can’t become paralyzed or go to a place of self-deprecation and self-doubt when a business decision doesn’t go our way.
I was talking with another business owner last week, and he said, “We are all on 100% commission. It doesn’t matter what your title is. Everyone in business is on 100% commission.” We need to mentally recover & pivot quickly, put our energies into prospects & organizations that appreciate our value, and move forward.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
I was recently notified that I wasn’t selected for a strategic planning engagement for a non-profit organization. I have a great relationship with the CEO of the organization. However, the newly appointed Chairman of the Board has his own relationships. The CEO reports to the Board, so the Board selects the vendors.
I strongly support the mission of this organization, and very much want to see them grow & succeed. They are at a crucial turning point right now. I presented the CEO with about a dozen ideas on how to infuse new energy and growth into the organization, and I would love to help them implement some of them.
I also offered to facilitate several strategic introductions that could lead to partnerships, co-educational events, and sponsorship opportunities. My hope is that I will be able to work with them down the road to help them grow.
Here is what I did upon receiving word that I was not selected:
I sent a thank-you note to my contacts.
I asked for a debrief so I could understand the misalignment between what they need and what I offered. This will help me further understand their organization, and also help me improve for other opportunities.
I offered to serve as an objective third party reviewer during the strategic planning process, since this is one of my strongest areas: laying the foundation for an organization and positioning it for growth.
I re-iterated my willingness to facilitate the introductions I initially offered. These potential connections could lead to great things for both parties, and the organization’s members.
I will continue to cultivate my relationship with the CEO, and bring value when & where I can. I remain committed to their success, with or without a contract.
When someone says “NO,” it’s important to say “NEXT” but it’s also important to say “THANK YOU” and keep the relationship moving forward. We never know where relationships will lead. We never know what will transpire between another vendor and one of our prospects. We all know that timing is everything. It may not be our time with a specific prospect right now, but no one knows what the future holds.
We must always keep moving our relationships forward.
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CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”