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Why It May Not Be a Bad Thing…When a Prospect Flakes Out. October 16, 2008

Posted by Bizzie Guye in Prospects, Relationships.

I’ve been thinking about a situation that as happened this past week with at least two of my potential clients.  It’s one of those situations that many Business Developers will tell you… is all too common.
It’s when a prospect or client for that matter, flakes out on a prearranged lunch or meeting.

The Story
The most recent incident went something like this.  A prospect whom we will call Tom of John Doe Designs, was on a cold call list in one of our other offices.  Tom expressed a little interest and (as is usual with this type of thing) the lead was then transferred to me.  (The prospect is closer to my location, therefore it’s current policy that I would make the follow up.)  In the process of being transferred to me, Tom even agreed to a scheduled meeting with me at his offices.

A couple of days later I drove out to John Doe Designs and met with Tom.  We talked, exchanged stories and even we laughed about the current lack of work in this economic downturn. Tom turned out to be just as genuine as he had appeared to be in the notes the initial marketeer had made.  We even scheduled to grab lunch (on us) at a local restaurant near my offices.  When I got back to my offices, I sent out an Outlook Meeting Request for noon of the day we mutually agreed upon and for a moment all was great in the BD world.

The Flake Out
Herein lies the problem.  IT’S THE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT WORLD!

The same day… he then moved the meeting time – a few times oddly enough.  I even tried to move the location to near his offices but the meeting was still not doable.  This went back-and-forth for a while and then all of sudden at the last minute- the day of the meeting – the flake happened!  After all of this… Tom canceled our ever swaying meeting.

Though I try to stay positive… I must admit I grew a little discouraged.  Thoughts of what must have happened to cause such a (seemingly) sudden change in Tom’s nature entered my mind.  Was it something I said?  Did he talk to some disgruntled client?

Silver Lining
Well I called Tom.
And to my surprise he was very apologetic.  He sounded sincerely empathetic – almost remorseful about the cancellation.  As he tried to explain – it became clear – that now not only could I re-schedule a meeting for just about any time slot that I wanted too – but that I could  also probably get him to pay for the meal as well.
(Of course I did neither of these.)

But I must say thank you Tom.  You helped me to learn a very important lesson.  And that is…

“a flaking prospect is not necessarily a bad prospect.”

photo by: ChrisDag



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