For every new deal you close, you probably lost many more prospects along the way. Whether due to the competition, changing needs, or a problem with price, getting rejected is inevitable.

The trouble is, it takes time and money to attract new business. When prospects fail to convert, it can be demoralizing for you and your team. So how do you improve your chances of conversion?

Here are seven tips for turning hot prospects into new clients.

  1. Look in Unexpected Places

    Often, the best leads come not from your own proactive outreach or marketing efforts, but from unforeseen places, whether it’s an unexpected referral from an existing client or from someone your HR administrator met on the train. However, it’s only if you’re prepared for the unanticipated that you can cease these valuable opportunities. This means empowering your teams—regardless of their role—to step up and see potential, wherever it is.

    This is especially true of small businesses who don’t have the resources or scale of larger organizations. To take advantage of these opportunities, encourage your teams to direct the prospect to the right contact, be it the business owner or sales lead. Whoever it is, make sure they follow up. Even better, invest in making sure everyone on your team is familiar with your value proposition, products, and success stories. This way, everyone will be able to recognize an opportunity and nurture it early.

  2. Motivate Prospects Through Testimonials and Reviews

    Customer reviews, testimonials, and success stories are hugely important in making or breaking a sale. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 88% of customers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business. Getting a review isn’t that difficult either, with social platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Google Reviews, and so on making it easier than ever to solicit and manage your reviews.

    Case studies are another important asset to help move your prospects along the sales funnel. These go beyond reviews to help showcase how your business has helped customers in specific industries with specific products and solutions. Here are some tips for writing a case study what wins you more business.

  3. Know the Competition

    Find out who you’re competing with, educate yourself on their offerings, and identify how you’re different. Share this information with your prospects.

  4. Be the Antidote to a Bad Experience

    My fellow Fundbox blogger, Gina Hall, offers a useful tip on this one. If your prospects are already working with another company and they are looking for a change, try to diminish any preconceived notions they may have and make sure you are a comfortable alternative. Do some probing here. What has the other client recommended or instituted that they want to move away from? Show how you can improve on this and yield them a better result.

  5. Offer Free Stuff

    Freebies are always a useful value-add incentive. If you sell products, a free sample or trial is a useful hook, but service-based businesses can get in on the act too. A free consultation, assessment, or 15 minutes of your time to explain how much money your client can save, for example, provides a useful foot in the door and an opportunity to prove your value. Check out these 8 Tips for Winning New Customers with Free Consultations.

  6. Be Persistent

    Being proactive is critical. It shows you’re keen, keeps your client engaged, and offers any early indicators as to whether the deal is real. Ask your prospect if they have any questions or if they need more information (case studies, demo, references, etc.). Is there a need and a match (read these tips for gauging whether they are a good fit for your business)? Go as far as asking if they are interested in your bid/proposal/business, what next steps are, and their timeline for getting started.

  7. Be Prepared to Overcome Objections

    If you’re getting push back, be prepared ahead of time. If it’s about price, consider offering a flexible payment plan or a discounted price in exchange for a quick sale. Alternatively, stress the cost and/or time-savings that similar clients have realized. Flexibility is key to winning any new account. Read more about how to overcome customer objections.

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Caron is a small business owner, writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron has blogged for the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE ,and other organizations on all matters relating to small business management and growth. Connect with Caron on Twitter and at April Marketing.