In business development you will come across many prospects that are not in the market for your product or services at the time you introduce yourself to them. What do you about these situations when a client is not ready to buy? What if the prospects is doing business with a competitor? How do you handle getting a no from a prospect?
I have always taken to the theory that when I get a “no” it really means “not right now”. It’s important to be respectful of your prospect’s space. If they are busy you want to acknowledge that their time is important and let them know enough about what you do and how it could be beneficial to them. Even if they are not in the market there is a good chance they may be in the market one day and you want them to know who you are. Customers that are loyal to other vendors are great and you shouldn’t consider that door to be closed. These are the best clients because if and when you earn their business they will give you the same loyalty.
When you are calling on someone and they tell you right now is not a good time be up front with them and ask them “would it be okay if I keep in touch with you in the event something changes?” If you ask this question in a non-threatening way you will be shocked by how receptive people are to this idea.
It’s important to stay in front of all opportunities. That does not mean you call them on a daily basis but DO reach out to them on a regular basis. If your company is rolling out a new service or product let them know. Acknowledge prospects at networking events, send thank you cards if they made time to meet with you, make courtesy calls to see if they are still happy with services, and from time to time pop by their office.
If you can manage to find that happy balance of polite and persistent clients will enjoy talking to you and they will begin to build a trust. They will see that you are committed to earning their business and that will also show them that you will value your business when the opportunity arises. Consumers like to have choices it keeps business fair and honest. So even when a prospect tells you they are not in the market to change sometimes things happen and choices are a relief. Make sure your prospects know you are an option by being professionally persistent.