Most long-term customer relationships begin with plenty of objections and even some no’s. But with persistent responses that are fact-based these objections can be overcome. Actually, when I look at our largest successes over many years I see that the great majority of them started with a no!

In the same way, you don’t always understand what is driving the basis of the ‘no’ you are getting until you find out more about the prospect’s true needs – unless you jump over that knee-jerk no and define the prospect’s sincere goals.

Experienced marketers wrestle with these same strategic challenges trying to figure how they can begin an earnest conversation with their prospects that will lead to a satisfied customer. Here are a few suggestions of how to navigate these waters:

1. Gather feedback from key prospects to begin thinking how they think. The best way to gather this information is to simply ask them what they think on a wide range of topics.

2. Go where your key prospects go and do what they do. Attend the seminars they attend, read the journals they read, analyze the data they review. You get the point. This will allow you to talk to them about the exact issues they face, but in their language.

3. Offer seminars to your key prospects that helps solve their strategic issues. This proves value to your key prospects and builds meaningful relations with them in the process.

4. Ask your key employees to spend time gathering information and interacting with your top prospects. Sometimes a wide number of staff members showing interest in a prospect is enough to motivate the prospect to consider your company and its products/services.

Cue: The more you know about your prospects and their challenges the more valuable you can be to their company, in both good and bad times.