When the score is close, it is interesting to watch the waning moments of a professional ball game. The players and coaches of the team that is behind always have a predetermined, well-conceived strategy to utilize every waning opportunity to the best advantage possible. Even in situations that seem hopeless, that strategy properly implemented may very well secure the victory in a game that seems lost. Just ask the Denver Broncos who lost a playoff game last season when the Ravens executed just such a plan at the end of the game. The key to such success is devising the strategy beforehand and then being prepared to energetically execute that plan if it becomes necessary.

In our business, we have all faced situations when clients depart our office leaving us feeling that there is no hope for a sale. It is in these situations that we, like a good coach, also need to have a carefully devised plan that will allow us the possibility of still securing a sale – even though the immediate circumstances appear bleak. And like a successful coach, our key to a future sale is to have a strategy in place that will give us a second opportunity.

Such a successful strategy begins with having and presenting a warm and friendly manner without being gushy or appearing insincere. Maintaining a professional attitude does not mean that you are aloof and insensitive to the human side of your potential clients. Many times, the folks we meet have serious life burdens. Yes, being genuinely “warm and fuzzy” is ok, and it is even more meaningful if you can offer hope and help solve their financial challenges. People will remember that you cared about them and will be much more willing to respond positively to you in future contacts.

A successful plan for a second or even a third time at bat with any prospect should also include these strategies:

  • Be thorough in fact finding: This not only creates the foundation for a sale today, but also provides information and reason for future contacts and sales.
  • Stay in contact with your prospects: An occasional call, note, or card related to some specific information gained in your initial interview is appropriate, but don’t overdo it.
  • Send meaningful notes: Consider some inexpensive mailing service like SendOutCards to make it easier and inexpensive to keep in touch using personalized cards instead of some impersonal “drip” system”.
  • Stay positive: Maintain a positive, friendly attitude toward the people you talk with as they are leaving your office, just as you had when they arrived – even if they do not write business with you initially.

Having a plan in case you do not make a sale today does not mean you are planning for failure. It means that you are planning for success—even if it might mean waiting patiently for a long time. With no plan, however, you are much more likely to give yourself only one time at bat.