The question of if or when to approach prospective customers recently came up in a conversation I was having with some women entrepreneurs. For the record, you should ALWAYS be willing to make an approach or YOU WILL go out of business. The reality is, however, our consideration should be about when and how, never if.

As business owners, we are all essentially in sales—one way or another. Sometimes our ideal customer doesn’t even know they need us unless we offer to help. After all, we are problem solvers. Approaching someone with your product or service is the name of the game, but remember to be considerate and appropriately responsive when someone isn’t interested:

  • Don’t offer a “conversation” that’s really a qualification call. People hate being lied to..and they remember
  • Don’t bother people on Sundays with your latest and greatest
  • Don’t BADGER for goodness sake.
  • Learn to take NO for an answer.
  • Tell people what you do, offer your service as appropriate
  • Back away when that time comes.

You’re not a failure if someone has decided they are uninterested in what you are offering to them. You need to listen to what they are saying. But you are making a big mistake with that relationship if your goal is to get the sale at any cost instead of building that relationship and awaiting the right opportunity to not only make a sale, but to gain an ambassador.