We’ve all been there. A prospect looks qualified and ready to be reeled in. All we want to do is hammer out the deal because hey, it’s all about the bottom line. Then, it happens. It may start with a single small infraction or it may be a series of things, but somehow, we miss the huge red flag.
Suddenly, we’re in the position of having to justify why this particular prospect is using more resources than we are able to allocate. We’re expending more energy than we have in order to determine where the trade-off is, and our problems have only just begun.
Your expertise and time are valuable commodities as a sales professional, so if you’re spending more time cultivating a less than ideal prospect, then you’re draining resources from ideal prospects. You can’t sustain this vulnerability long term, so the sooner you recognize when to walk away, the better. Turning away business can be scary – but it’s also liberating. It allows you to focus on building long-term, profitable relationships.
Sales Tip of the Day
Be Prepared to Walk Away
The inclination is to never end any potential client relationship, but a healthy business can’t sustain resource drainers indefinitely without taking a hit. Here’s how to recognize prospects that will never be worth your time.
1. They Talk About Price Upfront
In Nonstop Sales Boom, CSP Colleen Francis defines the red flag behavior that should have you running, writing: "Prospects who ask about price early have already made up their mind to buy from someone else."
Prospects who immediately ask about price are simply checking out the competition – they’ve most likely made a decision and are wasting your time.
2. They're Unclear or Unsure About Their Needs
You’ve dispensed a standard questionnaire but they can’t answer most of the questions. If prospects can’t define their ideal customer, budget, or exactly what they need before you begin, then there is no way you can define a solution.
3. They Make Excessive Demands of Your Time
There’s always one more email, one more phone call, and you have to explain everything several times despite the fact the you’ve clearly laid out a perfect sales pitch. They can never seem to get enough information. It’s critical to cultivate good relationships with prospects, but having your time consistently drained equals a lack of respect on their part.
Time parasites don’t recognize boundaries. Think of the resources you’ll use if you acquire them as a client.
4. You Can Never Make Contact With a Decision Maker
This prospect doesn’t appear to be capable of moving the design solution through an approval process, despite the fact they claim they are a decision maker. If the prospect doesn’t have the authority to influence stakeholders, or lacks the power to mobilize their organization, then all your work is for nothing.
5. Your Gut Says “No”
This may be one of the most important barometers that sales people fail to consider. Vexing prospects drain our energy from clients we like working with, and in our zeal to never lose a client, we often forfeit clarity for frustration. Take a leap of faith and walk away from prospects that make you uneasy.
You should get a good vibe from prospects. Nowhere is it written that you have to deal with people who tax your resources. If your expertise is not a good match for a new prospect, recognize this and make the decision to cut them lose. You want to develop relationships with prospects who are anxious to participate in the process and who you genuinely enjoy working with. Your business deserves that.
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