This happened to me about 2 months ago. We missed the mark somehow during our presentation and then we walked out not feeling good. What we realized is that our potential client lacked fundamental knowledge about what we do. We tried selling on benefits, features, etc.. but none of that mattered.
We were dumbfounded and didn't know what to do. Basically, we felt like you did "this has been a waste of time for both of us". We knew that this large company had money and there was some interest there in what we did but couldn't figure out how we missed the boat.
We sent out thank you emails, got a response back, etc.. and conversation just ended.
We let this one sit in back of our minds as we replayed what happened, what could we have done, why were we on the wrong track, lessons learned, etc... We are a small team so we could do this without formal meetings, documentation, etc..
We re-strategized on our approach thinking "knowing what we know - what value would be bring to clients team and how would the client realize that value." Before we could clearly answer these in our own minds - we didn't make any contact.
A month later (recently), we emailed them again and said the following:
Been thinking about you since we last met. We took a poor approach to understanding you and your company. We missed the boat. If it makes sense we would like a redo. Can I call to discuss?
We shouldn't have shown you our software, we should have came in and spent some time understanding your current posture.
We are now back in the game - we have a response and a meeting setup. I never thought we would get back in. We have a better approach and strategy this time - and if we miss it again than that means we are just not a good fit and that is okay.This was very high level C-level/board member executive so we didn't think that we would get a 2nd shot.
Larissa - if you truly believe that this client/investor is a good fit than you need to figure out/strategize on your approach and then make contact again. We have a saying "No just means Know" - meaning either us or them don't know something we should and we must continuously aim to find out what that is. So "No" it is not a sufficient answer until we know - yes it sounds goofy but that's how we approach selling.
Tell them you were wrong and they were right to get back in the door to re-pitch with a different angle. Do not do this without taking some time to truly reflect as in take a month off so the client knows that you have reflected. Trust me, they will know if you are just shooting from the hip. Have a plan.
If they are not a good fit, still tell them thank you for the feedback (invaluable) and shoot to maintain a relationship.
In my business, its really not about selling but maintaining relationships even with those that are clearly not a good fit.
Hope this help,