Wedging Your Foot in the Door

Never let a door close all the way. And never consider a closed door locked.[/caption] Let’s have a hard conversation: It’s about taking “no” for an answer. In fact, it’s about never taking “no” for an answer. In marketing, sometimes closing a deal is all about the follow-up. And often, it takes a lot of follow-up — even after what seems like a rejection. But you have to get back on the phone, or in front of your audience, or appear in their mailbox, and you have to keep trying to turn that original “no” into a potential “yes.” But wait! Before you think this is nuts, we’re going to agree: There are definitely times when you don’t want to waste resources chasing a target who is never going to need what you’re selling. Someone with terrible fur allergies simply isn’t going to buy your superior dog food, no matter how great your marketing is for the best dog food at the best price on the planet. That’s true. But if you’ve had that pitch meeting that went well, and you know you’re talking to someone who’s in the market for what you’re selling — maybe they’re already getting it from a competitor, for example — or it’s someone you found in a very specific niche group (such as a dog walking mailing list), then that’s who we’re talking about. So what are some very basic strategies to keep a conversation going and turn that “no” into a “yes” (or at least a “maybe”!) without coming off as way too over-the-top? Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Thank you. The simplest way to continue a conversation of all time is to simply reach out with a very personal thank you for their time — with the addition of another soft pitch, or invitation for them, at least, to reach out if they change their mind or need anything.
  2. What can we do to change your mind? Sometimes people want to know that their business really does matter to you, and you’re interested in why they want to go another way. It’s not only a reason to reach out, and continue the conversation, it’s also valuable information you can use to tailor future pitches for them and improve for similar clients.
  3. Just following up! This is so basic, yet people often forget. After a time, check back in. People’s situations and needs can change, from new owners to different budgets.
  4. Thinking of you. Whether it’s a holiday, birthday, or another occasion specific to the company or contact, find a reason to reach out and say you were reminded of your conversation and wanted to see how they were doing and if they were open to getting together for lunch, catching up on any new developments, or meeting to discuss any further business needs. Even if it brings in another “no,” the thought might go a long way.
At the end of the day, what we really want to do is give you permission. That’s the hardest thing that people have trouble doing when it comes to following up on hard conversations, especially after they’ve heard the big N-O (implied or otherwise). You are allowed to keep pursuing a lead and checking in — in fact, it’s expected! Don’t let go of the percentage of conversions that are likely to come around if you simply refuse to let N-O be the final word. YES, it’s up to you!]]>

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