Aren’t They Returning Your Calls? Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 227

During a lunch meeting I just had with my client, he shared with me his great frustration with several prospective clients not returning his calls or emails. What may have seemed to be a “hot” prospect at the time, has gone beyond cold and probably into frozen territory.

So what may have caused a prospective client to go silent? I believe there are seven key reasons to consider:

  1. They are no longer interested in your offerings or have decided on other and more important priorities.
  2. They have found a perceived superior or more economical option.
  3. They are overwhelmed and need you more than they realize but are paralyzed to make the decision.
  4. They have a condition such as no money to fund your proposal.
  5. They just wanted to educate themselves and used your expertise.
  6. They have not recognized the great value your solution provides or are not convinced that you can deliver on it.
  7. You are not talking to the real decision maker.

My client’s intent was to let these prospective clients know how disappointed he was with their rude behavior and lecture them as to what “proper” business and ethical conduct should have been.

Although none of us are immune from running into such individuals and situations, I don’t believe we should confront such rude behavior and lack of courtesy from prospective clients by lecturing them or by being rude. The only solution I see combines patience, compassion and providing consistent value.

So how do you minimize your frustration in such situations?

  1. Secure many more potential opportunities so you are not dependent on just a few.
  2. Ask them the tough questions.
  3. Make sure they demonstrate enthusiasm.
  4. Be certain they recognize the transformational value of your offerings.

Several years ago, I received a call from a prospective client saying: “Thank you for staying in touch with us and providing us with consistent value. We know it’s been almost seven years since we started talking. We are now ready to move forward!”

Don’t let their silence and your frustration turn a potential and “percolating” prospect into a foe. With consistency, water can carve stone, and with added value you can carve your future relationships.

Although poor prospects may become bad clients, if you treat them with kindness and provide meaningful value you most likely will see the relationship soar.

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