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How to Turn Your Failed Customer Pitches Into a Breakthrough Success

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What if there was a way to turn 100% of prospect meetings into raving successes? What if you no longer dreaded them, but looked forward to them every time?

Imagine you are standing in front of your next perfect client. You have spent weeks preparing to get in front of them. You have put your heart and soul into this pitch. You know this customer better than they know themselves. You have even mentally prepared yourself by visioning this experience in your mind.

You give the best pitch of your life and you are waiting for the mental applause that you expect to come next. After a moment of silence, the prospect opens their mouth and a single word delivers the biggest gut-punch to your ego. Your dream client says “No.” The next step is the most important one to take, but the hardest to master. You need to understand why the customer said no. Beginner entrepreneurs and salespeople say, “thank you for your time” and then leave. This is your biggest learning opportunity left untapped.

Most people consider the word “No” to be a negative one. Entrepreneurs and salespeople starting out feel like their customers are rejecting them, not their offer. They blur the lines of the thing they sell and who they are. I fell victim to this in my sales career. Every time I heard anything less than an emphatic yes, I automatically considered it was my performance or my ability that was being questioned.

The reality is that they are saying no to themselves, not you. This simple mind trick takes away the pain while also refocusing you on the next step, which is unearthing the limiting belief or internal challenge of your prospect. Let me take you through the example above with this lens.

You know your customer well. You deliver the same pitch and they say no. Rather than taking it personally, you say, “I can appreciate and respect that, but do you mind if I ask a few questions to understand a bit more about why?” In most cases, the customer knows you have spent a lot of time researching their issue due to the depth of your presentation.

“You can achieve virtually anything you want–if you’re willing to hear ‘no’ often enough,” – Andrea Waltz

Now is the fun part, no pressure. They are not a client or prospect, but simply a willing research participant. So get curious and ask the next few questions:

1. You had stated that your goals are to achieve x,y,z, can you elaborate on that?

The goal here is to unearth their ultimate motivation. You may have focused on one goal that suited you, but leaving this open-ended will unearth some hidden motivations and gold. 

Don’t use this as a weapon against them or it backfires. Simply listen and then organically ask further questions. Be sure to read the room. The last thing you want is to trap an unwilling participant in an interrogation room while you suck the life out of them. Be sure to be curious and open. See all their challenges, not just the selective ones your company solves.

2. What priorities are competition with this project?

This can largely be the killer for corporate clients. There is always a tug of war between resources vs focus. If they don’t have the people, time, or money, you want to understand that. It will be invaluable once you begin to see trends from your customers.

3. What elements of the proposal resonated and which were a challenge for you?

Be sure to make this about them helping you rather than trying to re-sell them. Always ask why each piece did or didn’t hit the mark. This is where the gold is.

4. Could I get your advice? Based on what you saw/heard, do you have any suggestions for how I could improve the offering/pitch?

The key here is to shift into treating them like an advisor or friend. Using the word “advice” is a trigger word. This makes them feel valued and knowledgeable while also making them your advocate. If you can get them to guide you then they will be invested in your success in the future.

“Success Comes from listening to your customer.” – Richard Branson

5. Are there any specific folks that you think would get value from what we do or could help me refine our offering?

This is a question that gets omitted too often. People are afraid to ask it because it seems like the old question of asking for referrals. I challenge you to find the wording that works best for you. People will rack their brains to find someone that they think you should connect with and then you have a warm way to connect with that person. Be sure to make it a no-pressure situation and only at the end of the conversation.

After the meeting, be sure to follow up with a note thanking them for the meeting and their candid perspective. This is a relationship builder that is refreshing for folks who spend their days being pitched. Some of the best companies that did this with me are some of my biggest service providers. 

It is easy to stand out when the majority of your market is automated and robotic. Being a good human can go a long way and bring in more of your ideal customers. 

What do you do when you hear ‘no’ from your customers? Do you have any strategies or techniques to change their mind? Share your advice with us below!

Want to have more impact? Cut through the noise with your message? Make stronger customer bonds and grow your business? Tell better stories! You can see my stories and words in places like Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, the Good Men Project, and more.  I have helped thousands of people become more authentic, impactful, and successful using Storytelling in their marketing. I teach my PowerStory Method at StruggletoSuperpower.com. Download my free tool to tell PowerStories in Minutes here.

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Entrepreneurs

Why Entrepreneurial Innovation Matters More Than Ever

Innovation and disruption are a key part of thought leadership online. But most online business owners today are blinded by tactics

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How to Lose a Team in 10 Days: Are You a True Leader?

The dichotomy between good leadership and poor leadership is that you are either showing up for your people or expecting your people to show up for you.

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How You Can Start Networking in Style in 2023

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

Grow your business

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.

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