How to Get More Clients from your NO’s

getting more clients

Over the last decade plus I’ve been fortunate enough to have run hundreds of marketing and sales campaigns, and generated a lot of sales (many, many millions) for companies large and small.

This only matters in the sense that EVERY campaign is different, and must be customized for the business, the offering, and the audience really generate more clients.

One other piece that matters.

Virtually all of the actual sales came from people and organizations who began by telling me (and my company) NO.

So, we come to a universal truth…

Virtually Every Person Begins with “No”

People get “pitched” and “sold to” all the time.  In a recent study, the per [person] Average number of “ads only” exposures per day: 362.

So, a person gets sold to 362 times a day from a variety of media reports, and then your small business is trying to compete with all that noise.

This is why everyone’s BS detector is so fine tuned, and we begin every sales conversation from a place of ‘NO’.

Nobody likes to be “sold to”, they want to buy.  Another point that comes out in both research and practice, people want to buy in order to solve their problems, not in order to gain something.

Technology has made it easier for a person to see your business which is amazing, but it’s increased the “no” factor because of the ease of access.

Regardless of what your funnel or sales process looks like before you are going to convert a prospect to a client, you probably going to need to have a conversation with your prospect.

If you are going to overcome a NO, you must have a conversation with them…

Get their Email First

getting more clients vs missed opportunityLet’s say you have this AMAZING website, and it’s perfectly optimized and setup to capture leads, you have this killer product that everyone wants, and it’s even priced great.

Even with all that going for you, between 60-80% of the people who show up to your business leave without doing anything.

That is called lost revenue!

If you don’t know who visited your site, and you have no way of contacting them; how are you going to help them solve their problem with your amazing product or service?

You MUST provide real value to you client to entice them to give you their email address.  This is called a lead magnet, and is really the most critical YES.

Without this, you’re always chasing the prospect and having to “resell” them on your business.

How do you get this?

Solve their most important problem, and collect their email/contact information.

Once this happens.

You as a human being, who actually cares about your customers, need to build the relationship and assist your client…

before you try and make a sale.

“Funnels” are designed to capture to capture the “YES”

There’s plenty of advice and guidance everywhere about funnels.  Most of it is designed to capture the person who is making a series of quick decisions.

You capture an email address, and use an automated series of emails that work to close the sale.

If you have a funnel at all, this is probably how it’s built.

For some of your prospects this is business as usual.  For a number of your leads, this is why they hate marketing and sales.

This is not the business world where I earned my stripes!

What happens when there are issues that keep a person from making a quick decision?  Maybe they have to get approval from their superiors, or they don’t have the decision authority, or it’s a large purchase and not an “impulse” buy?

Nobody likes to go car shopping because they sales guy is right on top of you, bringing you inside, talking to the manager…and all that high pressure sales tactics that people hate.

79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. With the lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance (MarketingSherpa).

Nurturing, as I define it, is helping your client by actually helping them.

How many “YES” do you need to get to make a sale?

Regardless of the funnel you use, you need to get 4 conversions, 4 “yes’s” in order to make a sale.

  1. Get a customer to your website
  2. They say yes for your FREE offer in exchange for your email address (or contact you directly)
  3. A Client says yes to look at your offer
  4. Finally, a yes to complete the purchase

small number of clients will say yes

Though this cycle and at each step you are going to lose a number of people.

For example, if you have 1,000 people get to your website a month, only 300 stay to look around.  (70% bounce, and that’s pretty good.)

Of the 300 stay, let’s say only 30 will give you their email address.  So, 10% of your visitors who are really interested become prospects.  (This could be high or low depending on a LARGE number of factors.)

Of the 30 who give you their email address, about 50% will actually look at your offer.  That reduces our prospects number to 15.

Of the 15 prospects who look at your offer, only 2 will purchase it (10% become customers).

Now, these numbers are completely made up, but they are based on a traditional marketing funnel metrics so the numbers are representative of what actually happens with your prospects..

Let’s aim small.

What if you could take those 2 customer you got with a traditional marketing funnel, and massively increase that all the way to 4?

Would that simple increase really double the size of your business?

The real opportunity to explode your business is in the customers who haven’t said “yes”….yet.  The one’s who initially said no.


Build customer-centric campaigns that are centered around your clients “behavior”

When people say “funnel”, what do you think of?

A series of steps that you guide your prospect through on the way to becoming a customer.

When people say “customer journey“, what do you think of?

The series of steps your prospect is going to take before they’re ready to become a customer.

Do they align?

When you bring your responses and communication in line with your your customers’ behavior, now you have the opportunity to bring some of those “no” and “not yet” prospects and turn them into “yes”.

What action did your prospect take that tells you they’re ready for follow-up?

In every step of a customer’s journey there is a specific action that tells you they are ready for additional information, or follow-up.

You got contact information, right?
So, either they signed up for your lead magnet, or they provided contact information.

Either way, you have a behavior to build a response around.

If they called you, that’s a very strong indicator and most would be looking for action from your to follow-up as quickly as possible.

What about your lead magnet?

So, they signed up for a report, checklist, template, download, case study, or some other document that will help them solve a specific problem.

Did they actually download it?

If they did, you have an action that you can build a response around.

Is taking the time to figure out all these action points worth it?

The short answer is, only if you want to work less and make more revenue.  Here a couple of data points:

  • Event-triggered marketing can potentially save 80% of your…budget. (Gartner Research)
  • Triggered email messages get 119% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” messages. (Epsilon)
  • Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (The Annuitas Group)

Automation is a bad idea for an untested process

I am a huge fan of automation, and in fact have been building systems for years.

However, many people find this intimidating, so let’s talk about an old-school where the customer actions were mapped and prepared for but the message was delivered via direct email until we could prove the systems worked.

Not to get too far off on a tangent, but when you build “automations” they should be developed and tested manually before you actually automate them.  It’s a really bad idea to automate these systems without testing them first.

SO, you can begin applying this immediately to your business, and automate when you get the process right.

Lastly, the higher the price point, the more the automations should be used to support the customer journey.  A sales page for $2000 or even $10,000 can be created, depending on your market.  Sales for higher dollar items, must close with a consultation.

Here’s an example

In this case, I want to provide an example to show that this process that’s not just a “digital marketing” example to highlight that this works for EVERY business!

One of my clients was contracted to provide a technical service to an organization.  They submitted a bid and were contracted to deploy a monitoring and response process.

The customer replaced a different company with our team.  This was not really a popular decision with the end users and some of the leadership in the organization, we we knew going in that:

  1. We needed to perform
  2. We needed to begin preparing for the next bid

B2B:  Back to basics

In order to deliver, we got back to a basic marketing process so our performance was also used to “market” to the current customers.

I call this a “keep sold” campaign.

We got our team together and mapped out what we expected our avatar’s customer journey to be.

We started with the obvious, which was the on-boarding and integration of our team.

In this case, we started with the operational piece of the journey, as that was the highest priority.

Then we dug into the specifics of that piece.  Specifically, what were going to be the main questions we were going to get in the first 30-90 days.

  • We reviewed the email files and identified the recurring issues, and problem areas within the  organization.  (Marketing speak:  Pain points, objections, and questions)
  • We built responses to the top 15 scenarios, and build them into emails, documents, and “how-to” articles.  (Marketing speak: Lead magnets & autoresponders)
  • We built automated escalation procedures to ensure that every customer talked to a person, or self-selected out of the process within 60 seconds.  (Marketing speak: automated workflows, and activity based triggers).

We tracked all the calls, responses, personnel, call tickets, priorities, and responses looking for the next series of email automations, FAQ, and procedures we could build.

Does this relate to marketing your business?

Now this is approach was specific to this situation, but you can do the same thing right now for your customers as they approach a sale with you?

Don’t you already know their problems and objections to your product?  What are the lead magnets, and emails that you can build right now to use as resources rather than reacting to each new customer.

When you support your customers, you have a wealth of information that you can use to build your ideal customers’ journey.

Use it.

Prepare for the next sale

When you’re marketing your business, you already know that you need to keep moving your customer through their journey and towards the sale.

This is no different when dealing with contracts.  Once you are stable in performing on a contract, it’s time to being planning for the next cycle.

Here we mapped out the process that our customer had to go through in order to award the next contract.

As we were dealing with large dollar amounts and a lot of bureaucracy, this isn’t a process that we’re going to “convert” via an autoresponder and a landing page.  (But, these both were used in this process).

We documented our avatar, his customer journey, the specific steps, and what he was going to need at each step.

We then built all the supporting documentation that he would need, the artifacts that would solve his biggest problems, and crafted them into several PDF report that were available.

Yep, we created a series of lead magnets.

Now it was time to create the action points.

For each step of this process, we drafted up a mini-series of emails based upon his activity and used specific email copy, pain points, and benefits to suggest that we had these resources readily available.

We then setup conversion points based upon specific ACTIONS and tracked it.

Once an artifact was downloaded, we followed up with specific problems that the current customers were facing, and suggested solutions which would make him look better to both his leadership and customer base.

In digital marketing terms, we had a good hook (his reputation), and addressed his questions and objections, and we tracked the email responses and conversions.

This cycle, email copy focused on conversion to the lead magnet, and the specific follow-up sequence to addressed additional pain points and solutions was repeated about 6 times.

Each email campaign and lead magnet was tailored to the specific step of his journey, and a CTA provided specific follow-up for our team usually in content delivered.

Throughout our campaigns we also worked in some survey questions into our emails to ensure we were on track in our customer journey mapping.

Human Behavior Doesn’t Change no Matter the Buyer

No matter the customer journey that you have for your business, you have to deal with people.  That means that you need to help overcome the 2 factors that derail a large number of sales: procrastination and laziness.


Everyone is busy, overworked, and having to respond to the most urgent crisis.  It’s only when this problem becomes a crisis does it get addressed.

So, if you haven’t been putting your content, lead magnets, and email in front of them on a regular basis the sale will go to the person (business) who has taken that time to actually build and nurture that relationship.

There’s also the, “I need a little more information” angle here.  So, build the question and objection responses into your emails.

HINT:  It’s ok to over deliver and provide too much value.  Your customers will tell you what else they want, and that opens other revenue streams.


I’ve heard the joke many times about the prospect who isn’t willing to put in their credit card information.

When dealing with larger organizations, you can easily get people use use the path of least resistance.

Know that, and take advantage of that behavior.  The point of this exercise was to make our team the path of least resistance.

The Net-Net Result

The Good.  First, the initial on-boarding campaigns we developed created significant goodwill and established credibility with our customers.

They received valuable content that was addressing their problems, and we refined and evaluated our conversions for this customer base.

Obviously, any failures at the “deliver” piece of a product or service is going to eliminate the opportunity for referrals, testimonials, social proof, and additional sales.

The 6 lead magnets, and 6 email campaigns, 6 follow-up “Q&A/objection” campaigns resulted in an additional $9 million dollars of revenue for the company.

The Bad.  I’ve been working like crazy building this into a repeatable system can be applied in small and local businesses who use a face-to-face or consultation type of sales model.

Here’s the Bottom Line

There is tremendous opportunity for your business in developing follow-up messaging.

Are you doing it now?

Most professional service organizations simply work on the people who say “YES”.  Really, very little thought is given to the others.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way!

You can have a customer-centric campaign that are built to respond to your customers actions.

If you want something like this…then please contact me!

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