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These Words from Your Prospect Are the Kiss of Death

Here’s a scenario I see all too often as a business coach …

The “service professional” … whether that’s a coach, consultant, or wellness practitioner … does a complimentary consultation with a prospective client.  They’re excited.  They feel as if the session went really well and the prospect got solid value.

I ask them where things stand and I hear these fateful words …

“They’re going to get back to me!”

Look, some people will, indeed, get back to you.  And many, if not most, fully intend to.  But, even when folks have the intention of reconnecting, time slips by, life intervenes, and before you know it, their interest that was so front-and-center slips to the back burner and eventually drops out of consciousness altogether.

When I hear clients tell me … “They’re gonna get back to me” … everything in me wants to jump up and down and say … “No they’re not!”

I don’t, of course.  But my 20 years of experience tells me that’s the cold reality in almost every case. The result?  Disappointment.  And, what’s worse, how well served was the prospect?  Probably not very well, since they’re now in limbo.

So, what’s the learning here?

You have to schedule a follow-up with the prospect.  During that follow-up, several things can happen.  They can get any remaining questions answered and concerns addressed.

They can say yes, they want to hire you.

They can say no … or that they’re not ready at this time.

Each of those outcomes is fine.  Not everybody is gonna say yes.  Not everybody is ready.  But it’s okay, because you have resolution, or at least you know where you stand.

You aren’t dangling … waiting … hoping.

Not scheduling a follow-up is one thing.  What’s even worse is not asking for the business in the first place.

How and where do you do it?  In a straightforward, matter-of-fact way toward the end of the consultation.

In fact, most folks don’t ask at all!  If they “make the ask,” it’s via a follow-up email.  And often, that’s when they send them information on their packages and pricing.

That just doesn’t work.

Think about this logically … even if you might have some “sales” resistance yourself.

Is it better to ask a potential client if they want to work with you at the end of the session when they’re present to the value you’ve just given them and maybe even inspired by something they saw for themselves  … or by email a day or so later when they get around to reading it … and the busyness of life has invaded … and the voice of doubt has had a chance to creep in and diminish the possibility they saw for themselves?

Think of that beautiful sweater in your favorite color that fits you perfectly. Do you want it more when you have it in your hands … or a day later when you’re remembering what it looked like and you’re thinking about the price tag?

It’s easy to talk yourself out of the purchase when a little time’s gone by and you’re removed from the immediate experience.

It’s just human nature.

Tell them how you can help while you’re with them.  Talk to your potential client about their concerns.  Let them ask questions and get clarification.

And then ask if they’d like to work with you.

That makes it easier for them to decide, or at least commit to the next step, right then and there.  And that just works better … for both of you.

Remember, it’s not about trying to sell them.  It’s about having a real, honest-to-goodness, genuine conversation with them.

I remember back to my days at the City of Asheville when I was selling sponsorships for our festivals and events. The killer words back then …

“Send me something.”

That was shortcut language for, “I don’t really know how to say I’m not interested.”

Limbo land.  Ugh.

How do you keep the interaction from going there?

Have a real, genuine, heartfelt conversation with your prospective clients … even the parts that make you uncomfortable.

The goals?

To listen … to serve … and to achieve resolution … one way or the other.

Best Wishes,


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