As we discussed in my last post, sometimes you just won’t be able to woo a client. They may have been a Good Fit and your proposal may have included everything they requested but they chose to hire one of your competitors. The rejection will sting but there are steps you can take to try to prevent it from happening again.
- Any time you send a proposal and do not win the business, you should fill out a standard "Lost Business Report" based on a debriefing with the Decision Maker. During this meeting or conversation, it is perfectly OK - recommended even! - to ask which caterer won the business and to ask how you might have approached the process differently. Really listen to what the client tells you and be mindful of this information when bidding on future business. Consider this loss a learning opportunity for your entire team.
- You may have lost the party but all is not lost! Keep this prospect engaged. A handwritten Good Luck note or an email just prior to the event is courteous. A week or so after the event, call the client and ask them to share a few details about it: what went well and what could have been better. Ask when their next event is and ask to submit a proposal. Demonstrate that your are committed to serving their needs.
- Add the client's contact information to your CRM, keep their name on your "tickle" list, and include them in general announcements and email blasts. Be polite, be persistent, keep your
conversation light, and keep the focus on your prospective client.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: losing a piece of business can be a real blow to a salesperson’s ego. But you can’t let a little rejection get you down. Keep your head up and get back out there. Remember, a smart catering company is not selling one-off parties; it is creating trusting lifelong relationships with its clients.