Broken heart puzzle

What to do when a prospect breaks your heart

Losing a prospect when you’ve nurtured the relationship can be painful. How do you put yourself in the best position for your prospect to choose you?

Have you ever had a prospect say they want to work with you, and they suddenly decide to go with another company?

Have you ever poured energy into helping a prospect make a decision, with great content and multiple conversations, and then they have one conversation with another provider and decide to work with them?

Who hasn’t had these disappointments in their business? We’ve all been there. These situations can feel downright heartbreaking, especially if you feel your prospect is the right fit.

When this happens, it may hurt. You may feel angry or resentful. You may want to push them, or other prospects you’re developing similarly, away.

All understandable. When you’re an entrepreneur, business isn’t something ‘out there’. It’s not separate from you. You have a vested interested in bringing in great prospects and sharing your gifts with them.

But here’s the thing. You can choose to be upset. You can choose to be heartbroken.

Or you can choose to see the situation for what it is.

There are many reasons a prospects may go elsewhere:

  • The other company was actually a better fit
  • The other vendor was in the right place when your prospect was ready to take action
  • They’re better at sales, and your prospect was convinced
  • They offered something you didn’t that the prospect wanted.

OK, these things happen. And the last thing you want to do is use manipulative sales techniques.

So ultimately, how do you put yourself in the best position for your prospect to choose you?

Understand what your prospect really wants. It’s not about features and benefits of your product or service. It’s about solving a problem. Understand the prospect’s problem in as much depth as you can, and decide if you can offer a great solution. You may need to bring someone along from what they think is the problem to what is at the heart of it.

Communicate the value of what you offer. We sometimes forget to do this while we’re focusing on the prospect’s problem. It’s up to you to let the prospect know that you can help them solve it. It’s helpful to explain how you will do that, so that your prospect is more confident that that working with you means a solution. Tie what you offer in with what they currently understand as the problem: that’s your meeting place at that point.

Share stories of others who have benefitted from what you offer. Testimonials, social proof, are a great way to share others’ experiences with you. Stories give your prospects a point of connection. They identify with the person in your story, and see the value you offer in a new light.

Pay attention to shifts. A conversation that began with ‘I’m not ready,’ can change in a short time. Stay in touch with your prospect regularly. Follow up in a way that lets them know that you want to understand where they are, right now.

Honor the prospect’s decision. No matter where you are in the sales process, your client has real wisdom. If you can help them understand what that is, go for it! And then, honor what they’ve decided. Your respectful approach will be felt and remembered.

This last point is really about maturity. It’s about respecting your prospect’s wisdom and choice, and your own knowledge that you’ve done all you could, with integrity. With that, you can begin to let it go and move on.
Losing a prospect when you’ve nurtured the relationship can be painful. Put it into perspective. They were one prospect. There will be more. Knowing that you’ve done all you can helps.

Ultimately, by continuing to understand, communicate, share, pay attention, and honor your prospect, you’ll create a solid platform for prospects to become clients.

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