If you’ve been around long enough, you may recall an old song called “50 Ways to a Lose a Lover”. Well here are 5 guaranteed ways to lose a prospect.

1) SPAM them – Entering their information into an automated drip campaign or calling them relentlessly. Today that might even include SMS and automated calls. No one likes to be stalked! Make sure you are providing frequent, high quality communication – not insane amounts of junk!

Photo via Flickr user Emilio Labrador

2) Sell to them instead of engaging them – Sure some people will be ready to buy from you quicker than others, but introducing yourself or product in person or via your ads and promotions and then giving them ONLY the option to sell, will only work if your product or service is inexpensive and/or an impulse purchase. Typically, you need to allow your prospect to date you. Let them get to know you and get a taste for what you can offer. Offer trial products, free resources, surveys and quizzes to engage them.

3) Don’t listen to them – You know what happens when you ASSUME. One of the first questions I like to ask a business owner is: “Who is your ideal client?” Typically, the response I get is a “demographic dump” of age, sex, income level or job position, industry type and revenues. What does your prospect value? There are reasons (yes, multiple) that they are looking for your product or service, there are key motivators to help them choose a provider, there are special times or events that will trigger them to buy. You need to ask them and listen to their answers (i.e. survey them) to fully understand their buying process.


4) Bad follow up – as small business owners, it’s common for us to let calls go to voicemail and let emails go to a general inbox. Your prospects have been trained to receive responses instantaneously, so make sure you have the systems in place to respond in a timely fashion.


5) Mislead them – The fastest way you can lose a prospect is to mislead them. Advertising the biggest best has gone by the wayside. Today, prospects trust their peers more than an ad. Transparency is the key. Be honest and humanize your company. This is the mantra of social media, and cannot be ignored. In other words “Keep it real”!

AvatarCidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success, a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget minded small businesses and professional services. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.