How to get feedback from a lost sale?

How can you find out *why* a prospective client rejects your service? Why would they want to tell you, after all - they have more important things to do, such as starting to use your competitors service!

Don't ask your existing customers - they have already bought *despite* these barriers to sale, so they’re no help in identifying the barriers. You can listen to them to increase your service's value, but not to identify the barriers to sale.

Every truthful piece of feedback from a lost sale allows you to hone your service offering until it represents compelling value to your chosen client niche. It also feeds back into devising a clearer pre-qualifying process so that you don't waste time on unsuitable prospects in the first place. One of the most useful outcomes of analysing a lost sale is to find out if the prospective client understood correctly what you offered - if not, you need to fine-tune your *sales message* to remove unsuitable prospects.

Now how to get that truthful feedback? They just rejected you, they don't want to hurt your feelings, and they want to move on… One way is to word the email in a way that the person involved in the sale is not the one asking for the feedback - the feedback is going to their manager, or a third party company collecting data. It is possible to find the real truth behind the lost sale if you use an independent person or company to do the questioning.

Now offer some free stuff - give something away, cash to their favourite charity so that they get something of value out of giving you feedback, or alternatively a shopping voucher for their own personal use. Budget for whatever you can afford; don't skimp!

So here's the basic template:

- make sure you have the contact details of the lost client.

- email the lost client, here's an example:

Subject: We'll Donate £15 To Your Favourite Charity Today!

Dear [Lost Client],

Thank you for considering [name of your service], I understand that you have chosen not to use our service on this occasion.

To help us improve we’d appreciate your feedback to understand where we missed the mark, and to show our appreciation we would like to make a donation of £15 to your favourite charity.

Just click on [your website feedback page] to leave your feedback and select your favourite charity.

Thank you for your time!


Kind Regards,

The Marketing Team

[Your company]

I have partnered the email with a web feedback form in this example, but you could simply have everything in the text of an email that they could respond to directly.

Here's an example webform that I use with Rentadesk to collect feedback (If you are looking for an easy to use hosted form provider I recommend, and for making charitable donations I use which provides a receipt that you can email to the lost client):


Hope you find this useful in fine tuning your sales message and breaking down those barriers to sale! Let me know your own experiences, comments and feedback welcomed!