How to resurrect a dead deal

By Barry Urquart

New recruits to the world of sales and business are constantly advised that the selling only begins when the prospective customer says no. The usual immediate response to any rejection in life is personal, defensive and often depressing. But life, like business, goes on and we must stay in the race.

Here are some statistics that are both revealing and encouraging.

Sales conversion ratios

A sales conversion ratio is a common key performance indicator (KPI). It measures and enables the monitoring of the number of prospective customers and clients who are contacted, engaged or encountered for each successful deal.

Some three decades ago, the sales conversion ratios for a broad-spectrum of products, services, sectors and businesses ranged from 3:1 to 8:1. Today, the figures can be as high as 12:1 or even 15:1.

In reality, most of those 11 or 14 non-converted contacts represent prospective future deals, a large percentage of whom are worthy of ongoing contact and follow-up. A deal is never dead. Resurrection is always a possibility. It simply takes discipline, focus and persistence.

The steps to resurrection

1. Keep the door open

Maintaining the relationship and mutual respect is an important initial step in retrieving a lost deal and converting future prospective transactions into reality.

Be gracious, accept the decision by the client to deal elsewhere, wish them all the best in their acquisition and ask if it will be acceptable if you can continue the contact. Rejections to such propositions are rare.

2. Establish a database

Creating and regularly updating a customer/prospect database will enable communication to be sustained and important information to be retrieved and recorded. Manual or electronic processes are acceptable.

This will enable future proposals and submissions to be refined and scheduled.

3. Schedule contact

To ensure and reinforce one's presence in the marketplace and interest in satisfying the needs of the prospective, existing and past customer contact should be made at least six times per year.

Full use should be made of all available media, including:

  • Telephone
  • Mail
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Personal visits
  • Invitations to events

4. Periodically qualify their needs

Specific questions should be posed during appropriate contacts to determine needs, wants and purchase intentions. Circumstances change and so do opportunities for and the timing of deals. These details should be recorded on the personalised database profiles of individual customers.

Clearly, deals are never dead. Some just need a little breath to be resurrected.


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