Written by: Steve Marks

How to recover after losing your contact mid sale

Turnover is commonplace and inevitable in all businesses. This can be troublesome when trying to close a deal because the sales process is a long and winding road with many potential paths.

It is especially frustrating when you are working closely with someone through this painstaking process, getting tantalizingly closer to a possible sale when suddenly you are told that your contact is no longer with the company.

“That’s not possible…I am on the verge of a sale,” you mutter to yourself after hearing the news. Yet you knew it was always a possibility. In fact, if you have any kind of history in sales this has happened to you numerous times during your career.

Act like a detective

The news leaves you with a sense of disbelief, and you likely forget to ask some basic questions —  “Who is the replacement? Who does this person report to? Where did my old contact go?” More than likely, you’ll have to forge a new relationship with the new rep, spending extra time rebuilding the base. You might even be at risk of losing the sale.

Re-engaging the company and the effort that this entails are the responsibility of any competent salesperson. Good salespeople are like detectives investigating everything they can about the situation, and won’t give up no matter the roadblock.

Obviously, you’re going to call back and get more information to see if the potential sale is salvageable. But you may be overlooking the most important thing: your old contact. Did you ever consider the importance of that relationship? This person knows you and your business.  You have undoubtedly built up trust, respect and confidence. Any time this happens, stellar salespeople know the drill. They find out where this person has landed and what the situation is.

Offer a helping hand

Today, there are many tools at your disposal that will help you find out where someone has gone, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Assuming you can connect with this person, you have a lot of information to explore. You can find out what happened, how close you were to the sale and get advice on how to proceed?

However, the more important aspect is actually your former prospect. Did he or she find a new job and if so, is it in the same industry? If not, can you help the person get a new job? Is there any insight into the customer that your former contact wasn’t willing to divulge before?

Certainly, if the person is working in the same industry, you’ll have a potential pipeline for new business. You may now have a very viable prospect that can be added to your target list. If the person doesn’t have a job and you can help he or she find new employment, you’ll have a friend for life.

Sometimes just offering to help is wonderful gesture. Make it a point to reach out and offer any assistance you can. Aside from being nice and doing something good, your former contact just might cross your path in the future and he or she will appreciate your help.