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Do you find that potential customers spend way too much time sitting on the fence, not making a decision? Do they also ghost you after initial communication? And, after a period of inactivity, do some suddenly respond just to say that the project has been cancelled or delayed? 

Simply put, it’s probably that the project you discussed is not a sufficient priority. Your potential customer may just have been putting the feelers out. They may have had an idea for a project, or an opportunity or issue arose that subsequently disappeared. Budget may not have been approved or funds may have been withdrawn. 

There are plenty of reasons why projects don’t go ahead. On one hand, you can just accept this and move on. Or, you can perhaps consider where you went wrong. 

Understand Prospect Pain 

Fundamentally, a prospect is unlikely to commission a new initiative if there isn’t a compelling reason to do so. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there may be some spare budget at year-end that prospective customers use to take advantage of new opportunities. Perhaps there’s a major new launch. There are always reasons why action is required. Yet, often, inertia sets in if the need isn’t pressing. And, lead generation can become extremely frustrating. 

We discussed this, to some extent, in this video on whether customers are lazy and stupid! On a slightly different tack, we also explored the 4 reasons why customers won’t buy from you

Ultimately, not every customer will buy. Not every prospect is genuinely in the buying cycle. One thing is for certain though. The more pain they are experiencing, the more likely they are to do something about it. That’s where you and your services come in. 

A Useful Analogy

Imagine a situation where you’ve got a really painful abscess in your mouth that’s pressing on your nerve. What would you do? You can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you can’t think. You need it removed fast. As it happens, there are two local dentists, both of which advertise regularly in the local media. They’re both offering £3500 promotions. The first is for abscess removal. The other is for the creation of a Hollywood smile.  

Which of those two will you choose? Of course, it’s obvious. You’re not in the market for teeth whitening at the moment. Rather, you need to solve your painful problem fast? Even if there was no promotion on offer, you’d still be pretty motivated to get rid of the pain, almost at any cost. 

To some extent, business is just the same. The wrong proposition to the wrong audience will fail every time, especially at the wrong time. And customers are more likely to buy from you when they’re in pain, when they have challenges that they need to resolve.

Understand Client Triggers

Work out what pains you alleviate for your customers. It could be a production line that’s bound to break down if they don’t get something fixed, or some roadblock that’s intrinsic to their business that they need to remove. 

What market triggers are creating discomfort? There are lots of historic examples in every sector. Many of us remember Y2K and the Millennium bug. More recently, we’ve had GDPR data protection implementation, or in financial services with KYC compliance. Currently it’s Net Zero implementation. 

There are likely to be lots of situations in the market with which your customers will need to deal. They will regularly need to accommodate change. How can you align your products and services to those stimuli? And, what can you do to identify those drivers of action in the first place? The simple answer is research but also it’s about being in regular contact and posing good questions. Ask your customers about their business. Find out what ails them and you’ll be much better positioned to sell to them.


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