Competing for new business? Don’t take “no” for a (final) answer

When a prospective customer chooses one of your competitors rather than you, don’t just accept that you lost. Customers often come to regret their choices. The supplier that looked best to the customer can turn out to be a big disappointment.

It never hurts to wait for a reasonable period, then call the customer and ask how his relationship with your competitor is going. If he’s having problems, he may or may not be willing to admit it to you. But either way, he’ll know you’re still interested in doing business with him, and you may find yourself with another shot at the opportunity you thought you’d lost.

Even if he’s still committed to your competitor, continue to call him from time to time. You never know when the competitor is falling out of favor.

My advertising agency competed unsuccessfully for an important account. The ads their new agency made for them were weak, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before the client would  want to change agencies. I kept contact with him, and nearly two years later we finally won the account. It was a relationship that lasted thirteen years, until I sold the agency.

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