Qualifying Prospective Clients is Similar to Dating

Early in my sales careeer, I was so excited to finally announce my first sale.  Everything was agreed upon and ready to finalize at the upcoming meeting.  My favorite suit was worn, energy was high, and I enthusiastically greeted my prospective client.  In fact, my heart was racing somewhat knowing this was just the beginning of a lucrative career.

But, to my horror, the man “turned” on me.  He began shouting that the contract previously agreed upon was unfair and that he wouldn’t sign it.  A few four letter words may have been in the mix.  Stunned, I slowly stood up to say, “I will be happy to continue this conversation when we may have a calm and collected one.  You have my number.”  Unhappily, I walked out of his office to return to mine.  Pressure had been on me to prove myself as the new sales representative.  It was devastating to walk into my own office with nothing in hand.

The best lesson ever learned was when I heard the Sales Director, the one who had been pressuring me say, “You did the right thing.  Unless someone is willing to treat you as an equal and with respect, the sale isn’t worth having.”  My job was kept and shortly thereafter the sales began to flow.

Understanding the lesson that life is too short to work with disgruntled people, I more carefully qualified future prospects.    Getting to know them both personally as well as professionally made a big difference as did building the relationship before ever advancing the conversation to sell.

It was several years later when another very rude person was encountered on a sales call.  At the end of the conversation she was thanked for her time.  But upon arriving back at the office, I gave my “thank you note” a lot of thought.  At that time, I knew of a very hardcore, and boastful salesman.  In my eyes he was obnoxious.  Devilishly, in my note to the woman, not only did I withdraw from assisting her, I suggested she contact the other salesperson having provided his contact information.

About a month later, thank you notes were received from both of them.  There was no doubt in my mind the two were dating!  It also proved the point that in order to move forward easily, prospects must be well qualified not just for budget and resources but for personality too.

In today’s online world with posting of reviews both good and bad, it is more important than ever to qualify well prior to accepting a client.  While networking, a woman shared that she had a thriving business for 15 years.  One day she was approached by someone who asked to be her client although there was a feeling of uncertainty about the arrangement.  The woman took the student on.  Shortly thereafter a horrific review was posted on Yelp putting the woman out of business requiring her to begin anew in a different market.

When you truly believe that not only will you enjoy the monetary reward from the sale but also working with the individual or company, then you will be on the path headed for repeat business, referrals and testimonials, or, the Smooth Sale!








Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale


Is the author of: “INSPIRED Business A New View for Building Business and Communities”;   http://tinyurl.com/HeartBasedBiz   “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, http://bit.ly/NiceGirlsDOGettheSale  and “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews.  http://get2hirednow.com  Stutz delivers keynotes at conferences, plus trains and consults worldwide.