Just because a prospect has a problem that we can fix doesn't mean it matters to them. One of our Sandler Rules is No Pain = No Sale. And while you can't take that too literally, a lack of personal impact definitely makes a sale much harder to make.
One of my clients was meeting with a prospect a while back. The prospect was coasting toward retirement and exploring the sale of the business, and they didn’t seem too interested in what my client had to offer.
My client shared with me, "I could tell that they were very, very comfortable in the situation. It occurred to me toward the end of the meeting that 'good' was enough for the guy. That made it far easier for me to tell him, 'We're probably not a good fit.'"
My client couldn't want it more than his prospect wanted it! Just because there was pain there from a business standpoint didn't mean it had much personal impact. And if there's no personal impact that you can identify, you probably shouldn't spend a lot of time or energy on it.
In Sandler, we talk a lot about four limiters: fear, ignorance, ego, and apathy. I suspect a couple of those were at play with this particular prospect.
It's easy in business to want it more than your clients do. Not just the interaction and the business, but often you may really just want to help them. You can see how they need help and the difference it will make in their business, but it doesn't seem to be that important to them.
However, you can look at that as a good thing. As my client shared with me, "They'll take the cheap route, because that's good enough for them. That makes it a lot easier to disqualify."
Of course, a "no" now is not a "no" forever. In fact, in my client's situation, he knew the current owners had a different attitude than the person they were looking to sell the business to.
"The potential buyer had a lot of interest in being great," he shared with me. "But he doesn't have control yet."
Obviously, that's something he can follow up on over time. And if he can uncover the personal impact the issue has for the new client, there may be a sale there. But for now, he's not investing a lot of time or energy in pursuing the client.