What do I do if I think I lost the sale?

In basic terms, persist. Most people think that to persist means you should aggressively bash their door down and while that might work for some people, that's not the type of persistence I'm talking about.

This level of perserverance includes things like:

  • Build and continue the relationship by maybe:
  • Sharing information with them that isn't related to the deal but to industry knowledge they would be interested in learning. This could be a newsletter, an email, a magazine article before it posts…
  • Send them "sales material" -- this could be something cool you've created and want to showcase, a book, something funny to generate conversation, a magazine, a video, etc.
  • Call every quarter to say hello and check in on them to see how they're doing and catch up.
  • Create some sort of event to get powerful people in a room together (they'll like that) and invite your current customers (the ones that love you!) and prospects
  • Ask for another conversation: most people will take you up on another conversation if they think there's something that they missed or will lose out on by not talking to you. Sometimes you just need to ask.
  • Use this email subject line to follow-up with them: "hey-- did you get my last email?": this has an insane response rate. go for it.
  • Learn from your mistakes: why didn't this deal go through? Did you pitch them and show too much too soon? Did you lack the credibility or trust? Reflect and learn why the deal didn't go through so you can improve on your future sales calls.

What is surprising to people is that many times it's a slow and steady pace that wins the race. It's counter-intuitive because one would think if you don't act immediately, you'll never have another stab at working with them.

If you lost the sale, look to continue to build the relationship. It will show that you're around for the long haul, which they appreciate, and it will be easier to have future conversations around potential collaborations.