February 5, 2016
One of the downsides of working within Sales is the experience of putting all of your time and efforts into winning a new client and ultimately coming up short. All of the phone calls, emails, and proposals, yet nothing comes from it. Some sting more than others, but it’s important to have a short term memory, extract some positives from the engagement and move along to the next prospect. It happens to all of us.
There’s a good chance this won’t be the last time you hear from that particular opportunity or even that contact you’ve been dealing with, at the same company or another. In this article, I’m going to touch upon a few things you may want to consider with lost opportunities, how you may develop a healthy relationship and even keep the door open for working together down the road.
Following Up Down The Road
Never become bitter about the fact that you lost out on an opportunity. Yes, it stings and you just took a hit to your pride, but always take the high road. There are so many possibilities as to why you didn’t land the business and a lot of them have nothing to do with what you’ve done during the sales process. It could’ve been previous ties the company had with another agency, services they were looking for that you couldn’t fulfill or maybe it was simply the price was just too high for their liking.
In situations like this, I think it’s definitely fair game to ask for feedback on the process and why they chose to go in another direction. Some prospects are very honest and it leads to healthy conversations internally. In the end, always wish your contact and their company nothing but the best moving forward. Not only will that reflect positively on yourself, how you conduct business and on the company as a whole, but it will leave the door open to future communications knowing you left on positive terms.
After a few months have passed, you may want to consider reaching out to your contact at the company to see how things are going and with their current marketing situation. If they’re happy with their situation, they’ll most likely let you know that and thank you for reaching out. If they’re unhappy and looking for help, this is the perfect opportunity for them to let you know and start conversations again. Hey, it’s worth a shot.
New Company, Same Contact
Have you noticed an old contact from a lost opportunity has moved on to a new company? Maybe you’re connected on LinkedIn and noticed they’ve started at a new company. If they’re in charge of the Marketing department, there’s a good chance they’ll be reviewing the current marketing situation and looking to put their stamp on the new company. This would be the perfect time to reach out to them to congratulate them on the new role and offer help any way you can.
By doing this, you’ll be fresh in their mind should they decide to look for a new agency to work with. One of the most important things to remember when reaching out to contacts/opportunities from the past is to be genuine. Ask how things are going and truly mean it. If you ask for an update but then immediately go on to a sales pitch to win the business, it’ll have a negative impact on your relationship and reflect poorly on you. Keep this in mind as you reach out periodically.
Things Change Over Time
If you take some time to think back through all of your previous lost opportunities, you may stumble across instances where the company decided to go with an in-house solution versus an agency. Some companies just want someone in the office every day and prefer that set up compared to an agency. Can’t fault them for that, but what you can do is keep in touch with your contact in case they need help further down the road. If they have an in-house PPC analyst, that employee could potentially leave for a new job and they can’t replace him/her in time, or the company could be growing at a fast pace and the marketing team needs more help to keep up with the pace. You just never know when the perfect time is to reach out and spark some interest in working together again, so the best thing to do is be consistent.
If they have an in-house PPC analyst, that employee could potentially leave for a new job and they can’t replace him/her in time, or the company could be growing at a fast pace and the marketing team needs more help to keep up with the pace. You just never know when the perfect time is to reach out and spark some interest in working together again, so the best thing to do is be consistent.
Whether it’s full-time management in a pinch, retainer work to assist the in-house team or an audit to give the team a second set of eyes on the account, the services offered within digital marketing always come back around. Be helpful and genuine throughout the process, and you’ll be rewarded further down the line.
Losing out on potential clients for the company is never easy, but it’s always important to see the bigger picture, pull out some positives from the engagement and see it as a valuable connection for the future. You may not always turn every opportunity into a client, but if you’re consistent in your approach and a pleasure to work with, there’s a great chance you’ll have an opportunity to work with them in the future.