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Improve by following up with prospects who didn’t buy from you.

Improve your closing ratio by following up with prospects who purchased elsewhere.

An important fact to remember is, you’re not going to close 100% of your prospects.  Is that bad?  


If you really do represent the best products and services – if you really can help your clients get more value from the money they spend – if there really are significant benefits and advantages in dealing with you rather than your competitors, then you should own your market, and your competitors should be relocating to another area where you’re not.

The problem is, either you’re really not the best deal for your prospects and clients, or those who are not yet your clients are not aware of the advantages they can gain in doing business with you, rather than someone else.

The point is, there’s always room for improvement, and the only way you’ll improve is to understand why every person isn’t purchasing from you.

Most Salespeople Give Up After They Don’t Get A Sale

Forgetting the people you didn’t close can be a tremendous waste. Not only of the money you spent to acquire their lead, but in valuable experience and lessons. 

The lost prospect can unlock a treasure chest of information that can help you become more effective.

Finding out why people decided not to buy will help you in several ways.  For instance it will help you to…

  1. Tweak your sales and closing process to overcome its weaknesses.
  2. Know what products and services people want that you are not currently offering.
  3. Receive valuable feedback on your sales people to help them improve.
  4. Find out what your competitors are offering that you might not be.
  5. Learn more about your customers’ buying habits and their wants and needs.

After your follow-up marketing sequence is complete and a prospect hasn’t bought, you should re-categorize your prospect into a new category that has a new activity series, which may consist of long-term follow up and offers.

When questioning your prospect that didn’t buy from you, you might consider asking these types of questions:

  1. What was the primary reason you didn’t buy from us?
  2. Were there any particular or unique benefits that our competition offered that we didn’t?
  3. What was your impression of the salesperson (or staff person) who helped you?
  4. Were there any things that you believed we did right or with which you were impressed?
  5. What was the name of the person who helped you at our competitor’s business?
  6. What did he or she do or say to convince you that their product or service was the right one for you?
  7. Who else did you shop with and what were your impressions of them?
  8. If we were to do it over again what advice would you give us to improve our customer relationship and sales process?
  9. Would you be willing to shop with us for other products or services in the future?

Get The Information You Need To Improve Your Business

Notice these are all open-ended questions except for the last one.  Using open-ended questions will get you much higher quality responses and give you the real information you need to improve your business.  

By the way, you want the last question to be a “Yes” or “No” question because if they say yes, they have just verbally (and psychologically) committed to considering you in future purchases, which gives you the green light to include them on the list that you send offers to.  It also psychologically urges them to consider an offer from you when they receive it.

In order to get your lost prospect to do the interview with you, consider offering them a special gift for doing the interview with you such as a gift card.  

You might also consider hiring an independent person (or company) to conduct the interview for you.  You’ll probably get more open feedback if the person your lost prospect is talking to is not an employee.

Conduct A Lost Customer Review Session

You should formalize this feedback process by having a monthly “lost customer review session” with your team.  This can take place as a single meeting or as an extension of your regular meetings.  If you do it haphazardly, you’ll never be motivated enough to make the necessary adjustments to improve your business.  

Be careful. Don’t make knee-jerk decisions with the information you receive from your lost customers.  Just because one prospect tells you they didn’t like how your office was arranged or the way a certain person looked or dressed, doesn’t mean you have to wholesale change everything in sight. Take a look at the situation, to be sure. But evaluate carefully before making changes based on a couple of opinions.  

If you hear repeated complaints about the same thing then you might begin to consider how you might change the situation.  This goes for employees as well.  Not every prospect is going to mesh with all your employees’ personalities.  However, if you hear repeated complaints about a certain employee, it’s time to improve the situation.