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How to lose a sale

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After our recent, successful Prospecting for Profit Summit, I was feeling tired and stressed. So I decided to treat myself to a massage. I wanted someone to come to my apartment, as trying to flag down a cab in New York after a relaxing massage seemed counterproductive. A friend recommended two therapists, Natalie and Will—adding that Natalie was a “genius.”

So I called Natalie and left a message which was never returned. When I saw my friend the following week, I told her what had happened. She offered to call Natalie on my behalf. She later sent an email saying that she had spoken with Natalie and that Natalie was expecting my call. This seemed like a complicated way to book a massage.

I called Natalie again and this time I was lucky enough to reach her on the first try. We discussed my needs and her rate, and all that was left was to set up an appointment. I opened up my calendar, and we started going back and forth with dates and times. I’m a pretty busy person, so it was a little bit difficult to find a time that would work within the parameters Natalie had given me. Suddenly, Natalie said, “Why don’t you think about it and call me back?” I was stunned.

So, I ask you, Dear Reader: Do you think I called her back? Of course not. I called Will. Will called me back in a timely fashion, was easy to deal with and booked me an appointment for a few days later.

What are the morals of our story? First, if a prospect does call you, it’s a really good idea to return the phone call. Second, when a prospect is exhibiting buying signals (i.e., checking her calendar to schedule a meeting), don’t let her go. Muster some patience.

Ignore buying signals—like this genius did—and your competition will walk away with your sale.

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Wendy Weiss, aka The Queen of Cold Calling, is president of She is also the author of Cold Calling for Women and The Sales Winner’s Handbook.


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