You’re making prospecting calls one day and come across a firm that is closing. Oh, well, you think to yourself, there are many more firms to call. And you dial up the next one.
Did it ever occur to you to continue the conversation, if even briefly? Did you ever consider the possibility that you could do some prospecting despite the firm’s misfortune?
You can, though for obvious reasons these are not high-value calls. The point is that you should take advantage of every opportunity to speak with business people. Even those in transition mode will land somewhere. You just never know what may become of those few moments on the phone.
This happened to me recently, and here is how I handled it.
A woman I’ll call Sandy answered the phone. I asked for a particular person (Mr. Smith for our purposes here). Sandy informs me that Mr. Smith is no longer there.
I’ve encountered that before. “Oh, I guess my notes are a little old,” I chucked. Sandy tells me that Mr. Smith left only about a month ago. (In fairness, his name is still on the firm’s website.)
When I asked who the marketing person was, Sandy stated that the firm was shutting down and that she was the only employee left. I could’ve hung up at this point, but I didn’t.
For related reading, see “Turn a wrong-number call into a sales call.”
Sandy was very personable, and I sensed I could keep the conversation going. She mentioned that she was looking for work; I inquired about her interests. Because I network quite a bit in the area–this is a local firm–I thought I might be able to spread the word for her.
Incidentally, Sandy was really upbeat about this process. She looked forward to her next “grand adventure,” whatever that might be. Her confidence and attitude were admirable.
Sandy identified who the owners of the firm are. One is semiretired, and the other owns another business in this area. That is good to know; I filed it away for future consideration.
A member of Rotary Club of New Berlin, I provided Sandy the club’s web address and invited her or her husband to check out the club. Perhaps she and/or they could broaden their community-service ambitions.
At the end of the conversation I offered my name, contact info, and address to my blog (which is my main website). I wished her well–I can tell she’ll find something worthwhile soon–and went on to the next call.
Why did I spend several moments on the phone with a firm that is going out of business? Why not? There’s no telling where this might go.
Sandy took notes, and offered to pass along my info. It’s unknown where she’ll end up, but wherever it is, that business might one day need my services. Plus, there’s no telling how many people she might talk to in the future.
Of course, this may go nowhere; that’s always a possibility. (And I don’t recommend you seek out businesses that are shutting down. That would be a terrible waste of time.) But as I mention in the “wrong number” post, these types of calls would be throw-aways anyway. You have nothing to lose by spending a few moments on the phone. Have a nice, friendly conversation about the business and personnel, and move on. At a minimum, you gained additional experience calling on prospects.
For related prospecting advice, see “Use business networking opportunities to build your business.”
Have you encountered this (either by phone or while walking in)? How did you react? Feel free to leave a comment below. If you found value in this post, please share it so others may benefit from what you and I have written. You may use any of the following buttons. To contact me, send an email.
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