When to Give Up on a Prospect

By Caryn Kopp, “Chief Door Opener” at Kopp Consulting and an EO New Jersey member

When decision makers say, “No thank you,” should you keep trying or cut your losses?  My experience is that as long as the prospect is someone whom your research indicates is an “A” level prospect there is no reason to give up, unless you receive new information that makes you believe he’s no longer an “A” level prospect. Analyze the approach that brought you to the “no thank you” and see if a different approach will yield a different response.  

Sometimes it’s a timing issue. The prospect is just not ready to move forward. In this case, the relationship is still percolating, trust is still building and there is not a big enough need for a switch at that time. This is where too many sellers fall down. They lay the foundation for prospect change and then abandon the process too soon, leaving a very ripe situation for an eager competitor to walk in and close the sale. The sad part about this is the manager or business owner will never know that an opportunity could have closed had the seller hung in there or tried a different approach. The disposition in the CRM says, “prospect wasn’t interested” but that doesn’t tell the whole story. 

One time a decision maker at a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company was on my client’s “please get me a meeting” wish list. For two years the prospect and I spoke, but each time I was told how happy she was with her vendor and that her needs were covered. She took the time to speak with me and we developed a relationship. One day I was making calls and got to her name on the list. I remember thinking to myself, “At what point should I give up?” I couldn’t bring myself to skip over her. I’m a very methodical person. I made the call and this time her answer was different. She said, “Things have changed with our vendor and we are now ready to meet.” Had I skipped the call, my client wouldn’t have had the meeting and wouldn’t have won the business.  My patient persistence paid off. 

The moral of the story is, hang in there. Your competition won’t. 


Categories: Best Practices Lessons Learned Other


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