It doesn’t matter why the prospect didn’t come back to you

Following up on clients sales - Karen Reyburn

If the prospect doesn’t come back to you, the answer is not “Oh well, they weren’t that interested anyway.”

The answer is “I need to keep following up until I get an answer”.

There are endless reasons a prospect might not come back to you. Here are just a few. 

  1. They wanted a sense of costs and now they need to go back to their budget
  2. They got in touch when they were inspired and motivated, but the inspiration faded so it feels less urgent
  3. There was a major health issue or accident in their life or a family member’s
  4. They’re talking to other suppliers 
  5. They didn’t like you
  6. They liked you all right, but there wasn’t enough to motivate them to keep meeting with you
  7. They decided to give it another go with the supplier they were considering leaving
  8. They don’t know what they want
  9. They lost a big client
  10. They gained a big client 
  11. A team member left
  12. Multiple team members left
  13. They actually intend to sign up, but they’re swamped and three weeks have gone by in a flash 
  14. …or one of an endless list of reasons you don’t know about.

The point is, it DOESN’T MATTER. 

Whatever they’re going through is theirs: all you are responsible for is staying in touch with them.

Until they say no. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. 

“You’re telling me to email them every few days and ask ‘Are you ready to start yet?’ I don’t want to do that. That’s annoying. I hate it when someone does that to me.”

Nope, that’s not what I’m saying. You notice I only said you’re responsible for staying in touch. 

Staying top of mind. 

You might: 

  • Send them something helpful:
    An article. A video. A recording of a masterclass. An online course you think they’d appreciate. A tip relating to something you talked with them about.
  • Invite them to something:
    A live event, a workshop, a review session or diagnostic or healthcheck.
  • Follow them on social media:
    Connect on LinkedIn with a personal note, or follow on Instagram or TikTok. Comment on a few of their posts (not like a stalker, but like a normal interested person).
  • Send a reminder of the quote or proposal:
    This could be just a short email. “Hey, this quote is still here which I imagine means you still have a few questions. No question is too small! Drop me a reply with one or two of them and I’ll do my best to answer.”
  • Send an FAQ post or video:
    “I’m sure you have questions about the quote we sent – here’s a list of all the questions clients have asked us in the past, in case any of these apply!”
  • Address a worry or fear you expect they have:
    “A lot of people we talk to are worried about [this]. In case that applies to you too, here’s a [type of content] on how we address that!”

There’s a real progression to follow-up: and it’s sort of backwards to the buyer progression model. 

The buyer progression model says that the buyer starts out slow, absorbing content or noticing you’re around, and over time connects more and more until one day they reach out and then suddenly there’s a lot of contact. 

The follow up progression model reflects the fact that after that initial flurry of contact, they begin to fade away a bit. 

So your follow up can match that. Something like: 

  • For the first 3 days, you send an email or make a connection every day
  • Then you move to twice a week for two weeks
  • Then once a week for a few weeks
  • Then once a month for a month or two 
  • Then every other month
  • And here’s the kicker: you DON’T STOP.  You stay in touch, every month or two, little touch points of even the smallest kind (a comment on one of their LinkedIn posts), until you finally get an answer. 

Eventually, you’re going to find out if they want to work with you or not. 

They’ll either say “we went with this other company”, or you’ll see from a post or comment that they did. 

“Worst case” they’ll unsubscribe from your emails, or will disconnect from you on the socials…but that’s hardly a ‘worst case’ since you got your answer. 

It is actually incredible how many people you’ve spoken to over the past year who really did (or still do) want to work with you. 

Yes, maybe they’re tired or worried or are trying to sign a big client or a few team members left or they’re buying new premises… but you’re the accountant. 

If they were your client, it’s literally your job to stay connected with them, update them, make sure things get done on time so they don’t incur penalties. 

How much more do they want to see you do that during the pre-sales process? 

Give it a try this week. Go back to a prospect you met with a month ago, a few months ago. Someone you followed up twice and then either consciously gave up, or simply forgot about them. 

Remind yourself about them, and then remind them you’re still around in some small way. 

Ultimately, what you want is an answer. Yes, or no. 

If they say maybe, they’re not sure yet, keep following up.
If they ask questions, answer them, and keep following up.
If they say I’m really busy, keep following up.
If they say nothing, keep following up. 

Don’t you give up. Most of them really don’t want you to. 

Oh – and remember, you’re always 100% in charge of whether you take them on or not. So if you didn’t like them, or don’t want to work with them, or didn’t get good vibes, or they were rude, or they literally don’t have the budget to work with you…it’s okay to remove them from your follow up list. 

If you’re not sure yet, do more follow up until you do know. 

Let me know how you get on!

Follow me

ON THE GRAM

I’m not actually bummed about the grey weather we’re having. Here’s why.

I went for a walk in the MORNING today, which felt like i’m winning at life. 🏆 

Lately I’ve been fitting in my daily walk at 9 or 10pm after a long day of meetings. I’m super grateful for the way it’s still light so late at night, but a walk-at-end-of-day doesn’t have the same motivational kick as the walk-at-the-start. 🌑 

So that one little thing I did puts me at champion status, and affects my entire mindset for the day. 💪 

There are a lot of contributing factors to this morning’s walk, but the top one was that it was grey, cool, and windy...which is far more motivational to me than bright sunshine. 🌬 

I know, it’s weird.

The rest of britain is like UGH WHAT A SHIT SUMMER and i’m here going um...i really, really love the rain. And clouds. And cool breezes. And grey skies. ☔ 

I’ll join in the conversation and be like yea, yea, it really does suck...but that’s just to start conversation and show British solidarity. Deep down I don’t think it does suck. 👀 

I do like sunshine, but after spending 25 years of my life in Arizona, I don’t love or crave the heat. ☀ 

Anything over about 20 degrees and i start getting a bit antsy...and my limit is “23 with a breeze”. 😎 

If it’s higher than that I’ll literally hide inside, not rush out to sit in a beer garden or at the beach. I really don’t enjoy heat at all. 

So thanks grey skies and wind, you helped a lot today. 💪 

Just me? Everyone else dreaming of 30+ degrees and sunshine?? It’s okay if you are...i just...don’t get it. 🤣 

#justkeepgoing #walkoftheday #goodmorning #wegotthis #onestepatatime #motivation
Cancelling things is a superhero skill.

Not all the time, of course: we want to be trustworthy.

And the sheer stubbornness of being a business owner is good.

I can do it. I will do it. No matter what! I can make. this. work.

A product, an event, a new hire, a business.

So we keep pushing. Show up, send the emails, make the phone call, record the videos. More training for the new hire, more new hires. Make sure we never let anyone down.

Of course, things happen. We get sick, something happens to a family member, or there’s an emergency and we need to shift things around.

But cancelling things can be a superhero skill: when you do it well, knowing why it’s time to cut the cord and communicating it well.

Here’s some of what I consider when I’m trying to decide if it’s time to dig in, or stop & go another direction:

1. Does anyone even know about it?
Sometimes it’s been a big part of your business life and used a lot of brainpower, but no one outwith you and your team know it was meant to happen.

2. What’s the cost of not doing this now?
The full cost, more than financial, including:
- Motivational cost for you, team, clients
- Decreased trust for clients
- Loss of strategic partnership connection

3. Could you replace it with something else?
Another day, an online option, a template instead of custom build? Sometimes a replacement isn’t a cancellation at all. You’re doing it, but in a less costly way.

4. Do I have the energy and appetite to keep going?
I can do it with an automaton approach…but given the other things on my plate, where do I want my energy to go? How much do I have to give? Will it renew energy, or drain it?

I ended up cancelling a small event recently, & whilst I was disappointed, it was the right decision for these reasons.

It can feel embarrassing...but cancelling something can be a superpower, if it’s done well & communicated clearly and honestly. And when it’s more the exception than the rule.

Anything you are considering stopping? What impact might that have?

✨This is from this week’s Creative Headspace note. They go out every Friday - except for the rare occasions I skip a week for my own sanity. 😄 Sign up in bio!💌