How To Get Valuable Feedback From Prospects Who Say “No”

October 26, 2015

by Dan Solin

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In my coaching practice, I help advisory firms convert more prospects into clients. When firms initially approach me, the first question I ask relates to their closing percentage. Some firms have no idea what it is. They don’t track that data. Firms that do, typically report a success rate ranging from 10% to 40%.

My second question is why they think they fail to convert a higher percentage of prospects. Most firms can only speculate because the best information would come from the prospects themselves, and no one has asked them.

This experience gave me pause. Is there a way to obtain valuable information from prospects who either were on the fence or had decided to hire another firm? I came up with the following process for doing so. It’s worked remarkably well, and has had some unintended collateral benefits. Consider whether you can implement it at your firm.

The process

My clients send an email to prospects whose feedback would be valuable. Here’s how the request is phrased:


I have a favor I want to ask you. We retain an outside consultant, Dan Solin. Dan provides advice about maximizing our potential to increase our assets under management.

Would you be amenable to a brief call with Dan in which he will ask about your experience with us? His sole goal will be to elicit information that would help us in the future with others.

Please let me know if this is agreeable, and I will have Dan follow-up directly with you to arrange a time that is convenient.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Note the following about the phrasing of this email:

It starts by asking for “a favor.” There’s support for the view that asking for a favor puts you in a positive position with the person who will be doing the favor. In fact, when you ask for a favor, it’s more likely the person would be willing to do more favors for you in the future.

While you can edit much of the balance of the sample email, it’s important to start it by asking for a favor.

The email then explains the reason for the favor. There’s evidence that providing a specific reason for why you are requesting a favor markedly increases the likelihood that it will be granted.

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How To Get Valuable Feedback From Prospects Who Say "No"