How to benefit from prospects who DON’T become clients

Imagine tracing a line along the path that someone takes in becoming your client. You might think of it as your sales funnel but let’s just simplify it into a single line that is easy to trace.

It starts with them having never heard of you before…

It follows them along a path as they learn about who you are and what you do…

It reaches a point where the prospect decides to become your client…

And then the line continues for as long as your client/professional relationship continues.

There is one big decision point in the relationship (noted by the star) when they decide to become your client for the first time.

But there are many more decision points along the way. These are moments in your developing relationship in which the prospect chooses to continue listening to you.

(As financial or real estate professionals, we don’t always know when these moments are, but they might be times in the relationship when the prospect meets us for the first time or visits our website or picks up the phone to call us or even hears from a competitor). I’ve drawn them below as red dots…

What we’ve drawn so far is the preferred path – only for the scenario when the prospect continues listening to the professional through the burgeoning relationship and then agrees to become a client.

But we both know that every prospect DOESN’T say “yes”. Some prospects say “Yes” but don’t mean “Yes, let’s work together right now”. In fact, there are many times when prospects choose to leave this path and go in a different direction – maybe they decide to find another professional to sell them insurance or maybe they decide to list their home themselves.

This can be frustrating for a financial or real estate professional to hear – you work so hard and want to help everyone but some prospects don’t have a reciprocal enthusiasm for you. It’s easy to despair when you call up a prospect who you THOUGHT was going to become a client only to hear them tell you that they decided to work with someone else or do it themselves.

But don’t despair. All is not lost. When you hear about your prospects diverging from the preferred path, take note of when they leave and why. Ask if there was something you could have done differently that might have convinced them to stay. (Note: You’re not necessarily offering to do whatever it is they say, but you know for next time.)
If you hear a lot of people giving the same reasons for leaving, you know it might be time to revisit how you sell your services.

Don’t just assume that it was because of a price issue or that a competitor swooped in on the right day when your prospect was in a good mood. There are other reasons that might drive someone away:

  • Perhaps there isn’t enough alignment between what you say in person and what is expressed on your website.
  • Perhaps they have doubts about your level of expertise.
  • Perhaps you haven’t yet described (in a way they understand) all of the value that you can provide them.
  • Perhaps you haven’t hit on the pickaxe factor.
  • Perhaps they are going through your sales funnel at a different speed than you think they are (so the messages they are hearing do not match what they are ready to hear).

When someone diverges from the preferred path of becoming a client, find out why and grow from what you learn. You’ll end up with a sales funnel that gets increasingly effective… and ultimately you’ll end up with a stronger business.

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