When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Transform negative feedback and repetitive tasks in prospecting to your benefit. We’re all familiar with this saying when tackling personal obstacles.

Here at IKO, we apply this to everything … including prospecting. When hunting for (net) new business, there are many…many lemons… and we help transform these lemons to lemonade (or at least make them a bit juicier):


You can’t get your hand on that email / telephone number

We use an automated prospecting email tool to reach out via email. This is less intrusive and energy consuming than calling, and we can track prospect’s interactions with our emails.

“How do you get their emails?” you ask – well, that’s part of the parcel of email automation. For sales tools like ours, or quick alternatives like Email Hunter or Get Email, contacts’ emails are automatically generated 80% of the time.

Tip : For those who prefer calling their pre-defined list of contacts first before emailing, have no fear! This can still be done, but the contact or lead will then be inputted into the same automated follow-up email strategy, and interaction scoring.


When you call / email that person, you are not even sure of their possible interest, and hope for the best

Using the scored interactions that we mentioned earlier, we can make more strategic/prioritized calling actions. Those who respond favourably, fabulous! We already knew our offer piqued their interest, since they opened and clicked our email several times (or forwarded).

For those who are not, we then put follow-up tasks to get back in touch with that lead with whom we had a brief exchange (instead of getting it lost in the pack).


If you get lucky, you pass the gatekeeper after 8 to 12 attempts, only to get a prompt “no” following a desperate elevator pitch attack. Of course, you’ve interrupted their day!

The last lemon is where it hurts most, since we have already invested so much time in transforming lemons one and two.

This is where we should focus our efforts most on.

We treat direct negative responses… each one. This is the area to focus most of our energy on. Here are some of the email response types and techniques that we apply in our SDRs process (Sales Development Reps or prospecting specialists). We have classed the types of negative responses into five categories, giving the option of email or phone (if the prospect responds with his/her signature and detailed info).


The polite “Not interested right now / at the moment / not right time”

C-level translation: Something caught my eye but I’m too busy to read through this.
What that means for you: They still leave a door open using “at the moment / right now”.
How to react: Say thanks (phone or email) and say – don’t ask – that you have put a note to reconnect in x amount of time. Add them to LinkedIn. You are showing that you respect their need for time while not giving up.
Why: When following up you will have a stronger alibi: “we connected x time ago, and at the time we thought to get in touch later to discuss…”.


The unaggressive “We don’t need your services / not interested / no thanks”

C-level translation: I get a ton of these emails, I probably haven’t read the entire offer.
What that means for you: Try to get in another way, using this contact.
How to react: Contact to say thanks and ask who would be interesting in [insert pain point you help solve]. It’s possible they missed the point in what you were offering.
Why: It triggers hesitation / curiosity if you mention their pain point, as well as their feeling of hierarchy if you ask for someone else.


The easy escape *whew* “I’m leaving / I’m not the right person”

C-level translation: I thankfully don’t have to deal with this anymore so I’m being honest.
What that means for you: Jackpot!
How to react: Contact to say thanks, add them to LinkedIn, and ask for that new person’s name (or someone who may know it).
Why: Excellent alibi for calling the new arrival and you win another contact for a new company!


The wary “We don’t have the budget”

C-level translation: I went straight to the pricing page of your site. In relation to your pitch, the value seems far off.
What that means for you: They have not understood the value of your offer.
How to react: Contact to say thanks, mention the benefit / ROI you currently provide to clients and therefore you reached out. Ask when a budget will be allotted to addressing their pain point.
Why: Gently reminds them of the value add possible and can be a good follow up support.


The dismissive “We have our own resources / another tool (that is not a competitor)”

C-level translation: I think I understand your value and we have someone / something that already delivers it.
What that means for you: If you do not outsource, or the tool they mention is not a direct competitor, they haven’t understood your offering.
How to react: Contact to say thanks, and ask them for clarification on what they already have for personal knowledge. If they have indeed misunderstood, blame yourself for lack of clarity and rephrase your offering.
Why: This gives you a window of opportunity to set things right.


The doubtful “not the right fit”

C-level translation: We have a very niche market / our business is too complicated or specialised.
What that means for you: This can be a good potential for feedback.
How to react: Contact to say thanks and show interest in how their business is structured to better understand why it is not a fit. Also, explain that this will be for your own personal knowledge and future reference. While chatting, ask for a referral (of course!).
Why: This gets them talking. You may potentially identify a need elsewhere, or create rapport.


Using smart tactics and tools such as automation or targeted calling are the key ways to shorten the beginning of your sales process and identify those projects quicker. Your focus and energy then will be shifted to trying to transform those “no’s” into a “yes”, giving you more potential to identify projects and sweeten the deal on your prospecting efforts.