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A Missed Opportunity: When Not To Pursue A Prospect

 

There are times in our business when we drop the ball and miss an opportunity.  It’s happened to us all for one reason or another. It’s certainly happened to me, multiple times.

Recently I offered an opportunity to a young entrepreneur I met at a speed networking event. She was experiencing high churn with her customers.

As a massage therapist, she would go above and beyond to please her customers. Offering discounts and special gifts to her first-time customers was a common practice and yet, very few would return for a second visit.

The massage therapist spent a lot of time and energy promoting her business and she wasn’t gaining the momentum and security of serving regular clients.

Ouch!!!

It’s hard work to drum up new business without referrals or word of mouth buzz. And to have to do this work repeatedly month in and month out, well that’s…. hell, pure hell.

As the young lady told her story, I could see the pain in her body language. The way she’d fidget in her seat and the tone of her voice told me her need was urgent.

I shared how I help small business owners with the massage therapist and her posture changed instantly. We both felt the magnetic pull of an opportunity.

She leaned in and asked a few questions as we exchanged contact info.  I responded to the young massage therapist and let her know I’ll follow up with her to schedule a one on one.

No matter how hot the lead may seem, there’s always some (poo emoji) in the game which can turn an easy sale into a non -starter.

Since our meeting happened on a Friday afternoon, I sent and email before the weekend was out.

No response.

I waited a few days, then I called and left a voicemail.

No response

This went on for two weeks. Each time I emailed or left a voice message,

Then one day, I called and she answered the phone.

“Hi, it’s Tamara from the speed networking event from 2 weeks ag……”

“Hey, you’re breaking up and I’m in Walgreens, can I call you back later today?” She cut me off with such precision that I was caught off guard.

“Sure.” I replied.

She hung up right away.

As embarrassed as I felt, I was still determined. I’ll wait until early evening for her call and if she doesn’t call back, I’ll reach out. I waited until early evening and I texted her.

The massage therapist responded to the text with, “Hi, I’m doing well, how are you? I’m sorry but today is my day off.”

WHAT?

Your day off?

It’s a WEDNESDAY!!!  What self-respecting entrepreneur would respond to a business call like that?  All types of thoughts raced through my mind. The old Tamara would have totally flipped and snapped at her, but of course I didn’t.

My reply was, “No worries, have a great evening.”

I quickly searched for her contact information and threw it away. I made sure there was no chance in hell I’d keep trying to connect with her.

The young lady’s response was a red flag that she wasn’t ready to work with me.

Some believe I missed out on a sale and a year ago, I would have continued nurturing her. Yet, I’ve matured as a business owner since then and have realized 2 game changing facts.

  • There are people searching for my services than I can serve.
  • Having a scarcity mentality only produces more scarcity.

Being selective in who we engage with is just as important in business as in our personal lives. I have to evaluate and validate the resources I use if I want to stay in business. It takes valuable resources to convert prospects into clients so qualifying prospects is a necessity.

How do you decide which prospects to pursue and who to drop?

 

 

 

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How Do I Choose The Right CRM: 5 Non-Negotiables

With so many CRMs on the market today, choosing the right one for your business is an overwhelming task, especially when you don’t have a clue what to look for.

Before you flip heads or tails or take Barbara’s advice on the latest and greatest CRM, take 5 minutes to read this article.

You’ll be glad that you did because it could mean the difference between scaling your business or maintaining status quo.

The right CRM will help you determine who will buy and when, reducing the anxiety and uncertainty of selling. The last thing you want to do is pick a CRM you don’t use or feel trapped in. Avoid the frustrations and expense of choosing the wrong CRM by making sure it meet my 5 non-negotiable conditions.

 1: Review the customer support plan

Purchasing a CRM is a long-term commitment. All the time and effort you put into learning and entering precious customer data takes work so face it; you’re basically putting a ring on it. Should something go wrong with your CRM, who would you contact and how would it be resolved? Some people are perfectly fine with training videos and FAQ blogs. Whatever level of support you’re good with, know what it is and be prepared to walk away from a CRM that doesn’t provide the support you need.

2: Integration capability

 Not every CRM that looks good is good for you! No matter how robust a CRM is, if it doesn’t integrate with other programs run; run fast and don’t look back. CRMs that don’t play nicely with other programs limit your ability to coordinate data with systems you currently use or want to use in the future.  Look for CRMs that can integrate with calendars, email, project management software and Zapier.

3: Mobility

We live in a fast-pace world that requires us to have access to client information while in the field. Some assume all cloud base CRMs have this capability, but you never know. Some systems require that you have a specific web browser, are not mobile responsive, etc. I know it sounds crazy, but you don’t want any surprises so just check to be sure.

 4: Look for a CRM That will scale with your business

If you’re investing in a CRM, find one that can scale with your business. I know entrepreneurs who settle for anything cheap out of convenience then grow increasingly frustrated when they have find something different. There’s a lot of time invested in learning and customizing CRM. Switching to a new system can feel as torturous as getting a divorce!  No matter your budget think long term and take time to date a few CRMs before making the commitment. 

5: Contact management features

If you believe that data entry is a time suck then this tip is definitely for you. Data entry and time spent searching for administrative “stuff ” doesn’t add direct value to your business. It’s not a profitable way to spend your time so if disorganization is slowing down your productivity, look for CRMs with features like card scanner, email tracking, follow-up and  reminders. Investing in a CRM that has at least three contact management features will help you organize your business, increase consistency and be more productive.  It’ll reduce distractions so you can work on the projects that matter.

Still need clarity? Schedule a free strategy call.

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What is Customer Relationship Management CRM?

When I started my business, I didn’t know anything about anything. All I knew was that networking was essential to my business success (Not that I knew how to network, but that’s a different story). So I hit up all the free networking events I could. It wasn’t long before I accumulated business cards and had to figure out what to do them.

As the business cards grew, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was an electronic program I could use to help me sort and track my connections? A program that could help me track sales or something to remind me when to follow up and stay organized?”

As it turns out, there is such a system. It’s called a CRM

CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management. It’s a series of systems companies use to manage their business relationships. These systems are bundled together in one software for your convenience.

Think of your local cable company. They have a series of systems that they bundle together for your entertainment needs. They combine internet, cable and telephone services into one plan for your convenience.

CRMs operate in similar way as they combine multiple systems and house them on 1 platform to help manage your business relationships. Each system is made up of different functions for easier relationship management.

So what systems make up a CRM?

There are four main systems to a CRM. Some software platforms have features from all four, while others have features from two or three systems.   Functions from at least two systems are considered CRMs. I’ll list and briefly explain the four systems.

Contact Management:

Are you looking for a program to track conversations and connections? Do you need software that segments clients, import contacts and delivers newsletters to your people? Contact management systems automate data entry, appointment scheduling, and organize your contacts to deliver personalized communications to your clients. If you’re relationship focused, look for a CRM that specializes in contact management.  These CRMs are usually the least expensive in price.

Conversational Management:

Do you have a team heavily involved with the sales process?  Do you make decisions about clients as a team and need a system that includes an area to house group conversations? A conversation management CRM will include features that create transparency for your team.

Sales and Leads

Are you focused on sales goals? Do you need a way to track sales conversions and pipelines? Project management tools, lead scoring, and close rates are all features you’ll need to meet your goals. Sales and Leads CRMs are great for increasing sales by delivering data analysis and automating your sales process.

Marketing Automation:

Are you focused on sales funnels and email marketing? Maybe you need landing pages and opt-in widgets? Marketing automation CRMs are the most expensive and robust. They are great for increasing your online presence.

CRMs have been around since the 70s and companies use them to scale their business by increasing productivity, streamlining sales, improving client retention, etc. The -ways in which  a CRM can improve business are plentiful. In fact, those who successfully implement a CRM see revenue increases between 16%-1,000% (smallbizcrm)

No matter where you are in your business, using a CRM will drastically improve your business, saving time and increasing revenue.

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What To Do With The Business Cards You Collect

Your networking efforts paid off handsomely and now you have a collection of business cards. Now what? What do you do with all the business cards you have?

Some entrepreneurs avoid business card pile-up by entering new contacts into their database in a timely manner. Others let new contacts sit their desks for days, growing in mass and invade precious work space.

As disorganization adds to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, this is the last thing you want to do.

When you do nothing with your new contacts, you forget who you spoke with or why you have their card, the value of the contact is lost and with it possible opportunities.

This happens to all of us at first, but once you know better, you do better.

Getting your contacts organized is the first step in creating a follow-up process that produces consistent revenue.

Whether you hate data entry, or don’t have a CRM, designing a simple process to organize your contacts is possible.

Below is a 5 -step process I use to organize business cards and follow-up with new contacts.

  1. Rank each business card from 1 to 10. (during or immediately after event)

Cards ranked 1-4 are cold leads, there’s little to no connection, or you don’t know how the connection would benefit.  Rankings 5-7 are warm leads, there’s opportunity for collaboration or partnership, or they’re a great connection to someone in your network. Business cards ranked 8-10 are hot leads, great potential for ideal strategic partner, and great connection. Ranking your business cards helps to prioritize your follow up.  It’s important to connect with everyone who gave you a business card but make sure you contact those with high ranking cards first. 

  1. Right a word or phrase to recall the conversation. (during or immediately after event)

This is a common tip because IT WORKS. Write something that will jog your memory when entering notes into your CRM later. Recall information about the conversation as to why you should stay connected. This could be business or personal.

  1. Follow up in 24-48hrs

Send a quick email or voicemail summarizing your encounter and make your request.   Your request could be confirming the next step, asking for a one on one, sending useful information and links, making introductions, etc. Be clear about why you’re contacting them and what want.

  1. Discard business cards of those who don’t respond.

After 3 attempts to connect, if there’s no response, recycle the card. As your CRM is premium real estate, storing dead leads can cost extra time and resources. For instance, CRM systems have plans based on features and the amount of contacts you have, and your SEO rating and be negatively impacted based on email open rates. You can decide on the number of attempts and the frequency of touch points before eliminating contacts but do remove them from your contact list if non-responsive. This will save time and money.

  1. Enter contacts & notes in database/CRM

Once you receive a response, add them to your database/ CRM. Add notes and add tags such as warm list, hot list, etc. Following this method will reduce data entry time and build a high quality database of leads.

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Customer Loyalty: What Do Your Customers Really Care About?


Do you know what your customers value the most about your product/service?  Many business owners assume it’s quality, great customer service, or price.

But if you were to ask current clients, their answers may surprise you. Sometimes personal concerns play an important role in buyer’s choices.

Recognizing the full range of both rational and emotional factors behind client purchases and tailoring your communications accordingly, is just as essential to client retention as it is to gaining new clients.

Today’s criteria of  affordability, met expectations, and great service is standard for doing business.

Savvy BOSS LADIES include surveys in their customer support process to know what clients value.

How well are you retaining your clients?

Many entrepreneurs assume 50% client retention rate is great. It’s a good start but you should want more customers to stick around.  Keeping as many clients as possible reduces the time and resources it takes to gain new customers.  An ideal client retention rate of 80% is a target you should aim for.

If you’re not at the 80% mark, focusing your attention on keeping customers would be the easiest and smartest way to grow your business.

Are you nurturing your clients as prospects?

Now tell me this: Who is more likely to purchase high ticket offers—new buyers or existing buyers?

That’s a no-brainer.

If you see your existing buyers also as prospective buyers, and include them to the maximum degree, you will significantly improve the percentage of new business that results.

We often miss this clear and simple, direct route to improving our businesses because we don’t see existing buyers as prospective buyers, only as “past” buyers.

This is absurd and risky.

Making sure clustomers are aware of all the services we provide opens the door for new business. Addressing their individual values such as personal growth, reduced anxiety, and reputation solidifies customer loyalty.

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Intuition:Optimize YOUR Brain Power Part 2

As a child, relying on my intuition was second nature. The sun was my watch, I knew what mood my mother was in by the sound of her footsteps, and could smell the rain before it came.

Yet as I grew older, I relied on it less and less.  I educated my intuition away.

Now, as I stare my forties in the eye, it has become a priority to reclaim that powerful relationship with myself I had as a child.

How can I return to the awareness I once had?

First I must understand what I’m reclaiming.

How do you define intuition?

You might define intuition as a gut feeling, or leading with your heart, but it’s much more than that.

Ancient Polynesian navigators were able to map most of the Pacific Ocean without the use of  tools.  They used all five senses to gain knowledge of the waves, clouds and stars. The navigators were able to read the state of the ocean and traveled hundreds of miles on small canoes without getting lost.

Polynesians aren’t the only people to achieve extraordinary accomplishments without the use of tools or technology.  Yet their story reveals 2 fundamental truths:

  1. How we relate to the world builds intuition.
  2. Intuition is an experiential intelligence.

More than 95% of your brain doesn’t use language.  It relies on data collected from your 5 senses. All that information is translated into language and emotions for us to plan and take action. In other words, the majority of our brain is used to relate and understand the world while less than 5% is used to manipulate it.

Yet, we spend the majority of our bran power to manipulate our world.

No wonder we are overstressed, burned out, and in a hurry.

If you want to use more of your brain power, strengthening your intuition is the answer.

How can you become more intuitive?

Building intuition requires being fully aware of your environment and self awareness. Here are 4 daily exercises to improve your 6th sense.

  1. Reflect on your emotional state. Understanding what triggers certain emotions will help to improve self awareness, control reactions, and become more proactive.
  2. Breath deeper. It may sound too simple to be true, but most people take shallow breathes. Breathing deeper will give the body more oxygen, keeping you calm, and relaxed. This will make it much easier to slow down, be observant and notice patterns.
  3. Take in your surroundings. What does it smell, touch, taste, sound, look, feel like today? Asking yourself these questions daily will help you become in tune with yourself, and your environment. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice patterns will start to emerge and you’ll be able to tell if something’s off.
  4. Go for a walk. Fresh air does the mind good. Experience beauty of nature and slow down.

Intuition is an internal compass that help us make sense of the world.  It grounds us, keep us safe, and bonds us to each other.  Strengthen your intuition and watch a new world unfold before you!

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How to Prevent Clients From Having Buyer’s Remorse

Have you ever had buyer’s remorse?

You know, that sinking feeling of regret after a purchase.

I’ve experienced buyer’s remorse plenty of times and still do from time to time.

That feeling of regret is a red flag signaling you’ve over spent, there’s a lack of value, or little to no trust of the product/service will meet expectations.

As a business owner, buyer’s remorse can be the kiss of death for your business.

Often times, customers hold the business responsible for their negative feelings and this can lead to no repeat business, and bad reviews.

Although buyer’s remorse can be the result of the consumer’s actions or emotional triggers, the business can suffer the backlash.

Take my old man, Ryan and his recent car purchase for instance. Old Betsy, his 12 year old Kia Optima, has been on her last leg for a while. A week ago we found out she needed over $2,000 of repairs.
Instead of sinking more money into fixing Betsy, he decided to get a new-to-you car.

After all was said and done, he paid $100 more in monthly payments for a 4 year old Honda and they gave him less than $500 for Betsy. In addition, his car insurance increased $40 dollars.
Don’t get me wrong, the Honda is a sweet, sleek, sexy thang. It drives better than Old Betsy, it’s safer, and has the latest tech features.

So is the Honda worth the extra $140.00 in monthly payments? Was it what Ryan intended on buying? Was he treated fairly?

All of these questions invaded my mind when Ryan brought the car home.
I wasn’t there when the wheeling and dealing went down and Ryan’s starting to display buyer’s remorse behaviors.

Clearly he went over budget and that’s the core reason he’s feeling regretful.

So what is he doing about it?
For starters, Ryan’s renegotiating his insurance plan.  If it isn’t reduced, he‘ll search for a new insurance provider.
Secondly, he’s driving in silence to listen for any unusual sounds in case there’s a slight chance he could return the Honda.

That’s pretty much it.

If you’re wondering if my old man will make a second purchase from the dealership or refer someone, probably not.

He’s more likely to give a negative review than refer someone and doesn’t even remember the salesperson’s name he worked with.

Ryan’s scenario is so common in business that many entrepreneurs either try to avoid doing business with the “Ryans” in the world or cut ties from them after the purchase. Very few business owners would attempt to satisfy a remorseful customer.

Yet wise BOSS LADIES know customers like my old man have advocate potential. With a few tweaks in customer experience and support, clients like Ryan could be raving fans.

What can you do to avoid buyers remorse & build customer loyalty?

Loyalty begins in the sales cycle.
Educating clients on who you are and how you work is the first step in creating a transparent sales cycle. When you make the unfamiliar familiar for prospects, they know what to expect which builds the first stage of trust.

Putting the relationship before profit by doing right by  your client is another key element in building deep trust and staying top of mind. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should lose revenue serving your client. It does demand consideration when offering your solution.

For example, if the car salesman would have noticed Ryan’s uneasiness and reassured him of making a great decision or offered an alternative, Ryan would’ve came home excited about his hot new car. He would’ve also been appreciative of the salesman’s thoughtfulness.
With one simple act of putting the relationship first, the car salesman could’ve become memorable, increased word of mouth buzz, and received a referral.

How does your business measure up?

What gets measured gets improved.
Do you know your client retention rate? Established companies that focus on customer retention will grow their business faster and more efficiently by tracking their customer retention rate. For a simple way of measuring your client retention rate, try this formula:
E=# of existing customers at the end of given period.
N= # of new customers during given period.
S= # of customers you had at start of period.
Customer Retention Rate(CRR)
CRR= ((L-A)/S) X 100

Knowing your client retention rate will take the guesswork out of growing your business.

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How To Start A Conversation: What To Say

Life is some much sweeter when you’re able to connect with others. It’s also great for business. And for those of you who want to connect but don’t know how to start conversations or what to say, this post is for you!

After many awkward attempts at networking, hours of reading, and listening to podcasts, I’ve learned there are 5 simple tips for befriending people. Practicing my suggestions will make talking with anyone fascinating, fun and easy.

Best of all, you will be adored while still being yourself.

1. Allow a 2 second pause before a response. Like your mom used to say, “Think before you speak.” No matter how emotional the conversation, collecting your thoughts before talking will prevent you from saying something you’ll regret AND be respectful of the other person. Conversing with someone who doesn’t cut you off is welcoming. By following this one tip, people will spill the beans and tell you everything about their lives and think the world of you.

2. A simple question equals a simple answer. I have to admit, I’m still practicing this one. Being longwinded isn’t a good look on anyone. If someone asks you what you do and you tell them your whole life story, that person will avoid asking you anything else ever again.

3. Compliment and ask.
If a person captures your attention by what they’re wearing, reading, saying, etc. compliment them on it and ask about it. Starting a conversation with a genuine compliment is a positive and easy way to engage someone. Be specific in your compliment. Describing what you like and why paves the way to an engaging follow-up question.

4. It’s not about you.
Starting conversations is about being interested in the other person. This requires active listening and asking questions. If you’re constantly critiquing your every thought and move, you can’t be in the moment. If you can’t be in the moment, you can’t focus your attention on getting to know others. So GET OUT YOUR HEAD! Stop worrying and self-criticizing and start being curious. The beauty of being human is that we’re all seriously flawed beings with insecurities. Not to mention, we’re all weirdos too!

5. Be aware of your facial expressions.  There are some of us who naturally hold a mean look on our faces. If that’s the case practice a more approachable look.  I had the habit of mean mugging people and wondered why no one wanted to talk with me.  Yet once I changed my neutral facial expression, strangers initiate conversations with me on a regular basis.

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How To Optimize YOUR Brain Power & Take Massive Action

If you created your 2018 Business Success Plan or are working on it, chances are your plan will call for massive action.

We optimize our resources for efficiency and value. Why not optimize the most powerful asset available to us, our brain?

Most entrepreneurs buy in to the latest trend of hustling and overlook the importance of enhancing our brain power. Yet, when it comes to taking massive action, providing your brain what it needs to deliver peak performance wins hands down.

Experienced business owners understand how their brains operate and work with it to optimize results. Do you?

What do you need to know about your brain for peak performance?

We’ve all experienced the auto pilot effect.

For example, arriving home with few memories of the mechanical process of driving there, or our daily morning routine. When we repeatedly do something, it becomes second nature.

When you form habits they become part of our subconscious, or long-term memory. Using less energy, you perform habitual activities without thinking about them. Learning something new, or solving complex problems requires more energy.
You have to think about what you’re doing because it’s stored as a short-term memory.

The goal for brain optimization is 3-fold; to transition vital information from short -term to long- term as quickly as possible, reserve energy, and restore energy reserves when depleted.

8 way to Optimize Your Brain Power

1. Empty your brain of to-do lists and ideas. Keep a notepad with you so you can jot down ideas when they come and use technology to create to-do lists. As David Allen stated in his book Getting Things Done, “Your brain is for having ideas, not storing them.”

2. Practice makes mastery. Move essential information and knowledge from short-term memory to long-term through practice and reinforcement. Once in long-term memory, you expend less energy.

3. Use pictures and music to remember information. Did you know that long-term memories are stored in the emotional brain? Linking information with music and pictures will enhance your memory.

4. Reserve decisions making energies. Use your energy to make important decisions. Energy used to decide what to eat can be used elsewhere. Decide on breakfast once and have the same thing for the next week or month.

5. Work on complex tasks during peak brain times. Do you know what time of day you’re the most alert and focused? Are mornings the best time for you? Maybe you prefer the afternoons or evenings. If you don’t know, experiment and find the time of day you’re laser focused. Tasks the involve planning, brainstorming, or tasks you don’t want to do should be worked on during your peak time. FYI, it’s normal to have more than 1 peak time.

6. Rest and recover. When work becomes challenging, give yourself a break for your brain to recover. Allow at least 15 minutes. If you’re feeling stuck and can’t find the answer, walk away and allow your brain to relax. You’ll find your brain will give you an answer when you least expect it.

7. Stay nourished. Avoid skipping meals and stay hydrated to restore energy.

8. One thing at a time. Multitasking is a huge energy drainer. Avoid distractions and focus on one task for a determined time period.

BONUS: Have yet to create your 2018 Business Success Plan? Tap here to learn how to get started!

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Rookie Mistake: Awkward Sales Response

I enjoy networking. It’s one of many reasons I’m self-employed. Connecting with business owners is exhilarating. Until recently, I haven’t had to deal with being hit on. Either I’m completely oblivious when someone is flirting, or I assume it’s how some people build rapport. A week ago, I had an awkward encounter which  has given me reason to be more aware.

A prospect I met on a networking website wanted to start a referral program for his home improvement business. We discussed his needs and products options over the course of 3 months. He was very personable and we had a good connection.

While attempting to call a friend, I accidently dialed his number. Expecting a woman’s voice to answer, I quickly replied that I had the wrong phone number and hung up. After a few minutes, I realized who I called and that’s when I received a text from the prospect.

The text read, “I kinda wish you didn’t have the wrong number.”

Tickled about the situation, I immediately called the prospect back and jokingly explained what happened. We laughed and during our conversation,  he commented on the sexiness of my voice in a playful manner.

I laughed it off and didn’t think anything of it. He knew I had a boyfriend (at least I mentioned it before). We agreed to schedule a meeting for the following week.
Confident I would close him at our meeting, I began prepping paper work.

Finally!

All the time spent following up was paying off.

During the next few days, we scheduled an evening meeting via text at a local pub grill.

Prospect: “Is 6pm ok with you?”
Me: “Yes”
Prospect: “Cool, since it’ll be coming from work, could we get dinner?”
Me: “sure.”
Prospect: “Great it’s a date!”

Ummm wait, what? Let’s rewind this…. Personable guy, great business connection, thinks my voice is sexy, it’s date??
Oh no!

The feeling of uneasiness started to creep in. How should I reply? Should I brush it off? No, I gotta say something. I started to feel like a lady of the night.
Besides, if I kept this from Ryan, I would feel guilty.
Dang it!
I really want the sale. Should I risk losing the sale?
I completely over thought the situation and my conscience got the best of me.

I replied, “Well it’s more like a dinner meeting.”
Prospect: “When I said it’s a date, I didn’t mean a romantic date. I meant a date on the calendar.”
Like a rookie, I replied with a fist pump emoji.

Although my response was awkward, I was relieved. If it’s a misunderstanding, we can easily sweep this under the rug and continue the sales process.

To make a long story short, we didn’t meet. The prospect stood me up and never replied to my voicemail or text.
Yes, I lost the sale, but I wasn’t upset.

If he truly had no romantic intentions, he would have met with me, right?

I despite the rookie mistakes I’m pleased that I stood up for myself when I felt uncomfortable. Of course I could have used more tact, but practice makes mastery!

Have you ever experienced a similar situation? What did you do? I’d love to hear from you!

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