So you’ve been rejected by a prospect. What now?

October 3, 2019

By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins.

How many times have you felt the pain of rejection from a potential client?

You poured hours of your time into crafting the perfect pitch. You delivered it with confidence.

Your prospects sounded enthusiastic – and you came away convinced you had won the business…

…But a few days later, they called to say they decided to go with another firm.


Most firms would thank them for the opportunity, wish them good luck, and move on to the next pitch.

But that isn’t the right move.

There is something else you should do, that could change everything….

…Something I discussed in detail during my recent trip to the Kreston conference in Latin America.

You see, we talk a lot about best practices to win new business, but we rarely go into what happens when you don’t win.

What you do at that crucial juncture can be as important as the work you put into preparing your pitch.

Take Natalia Mora Suarez, International Relations Manager at Kreston RM S.A. in Colombia.

A contact had referred her to a potential client, who eventually decided to go with a different firm – one they were more familiar with.

Now, Natalia could have accepted that “No”, chalked it up to experience, and moved on.

But she didn’t.

Instead, she decided to investigate. She contacted the prospect directly, and asked to find out more about why they had been rejected.

It gradually emerged that they had not really understood Kreston RM S.A’s capabilities.

This was an exciting opportunity for Natalia!

She was able to talk them through all the ways in which her firm could help – and she got the prospect to change their mind, and go with Kreston after all.

I really love what Natalia did – and there’s a lesson for you here too.

You don’t have to accept a ‘no’ at face value.

Always get back in touch with the prospect – and find out why they rejected you.

Did something in your pitch inadvertently turn them off? Were they worried that you had left something out? Was pricing the issue?

What was that “no” based on?

Once you understand their reasoning, you can sometimes take action to turn their decision around.

Of course, often that’s not possible (or desirable, especially if their objections are based around price).

But you should still make that call, because it’s your opportunity to gather valuable business intelligence.

You can learn so much both about your prospects and about the way you are perceived, simply by asking “why didn’t you pick us”.

Put that information to good use, and use it to win your next pitch!

And by the way, even if your prospect sticks to their initial decision, all is not lost.

Keep in touch with this prospect long-term because you never know what that connection could lead to…

A referral? A chance to pitch for a different service? A second chance, when the first firm doesn’t work out? (It happens…)

Check in with them every once in a while. Send them regular content that you know will interest them, based on the discussions you’ve had. You could even invite them for coffee or ask them to a firm event.

You may have lost one piece of work, but when you continue to build a relationship of trust, you set the stage for other opportunities to do business in the future.

As you know, even when you run a successful firm, rejection comes with the territory.

But if you think of adversity in business as an opportunity in disguise, you’ll grow even faster.