When to Leave Your Prospect at the Altar

It takes some serious cojones to walk away from a deal or to stop pursuing a deal in the early stages. As sales people we see everything as an opportunity AND it feels like we’re leaving money on the table when we do. Let’s face it, leads that turn into opportunities are valuable and walking away means we have to go get a new one and who knows when and if that will come.  However, it’s for this exact reason that you need to have the guts to walk away. Deals that aren’t going to close, customers that aren’t a good fit, prospects that are difficult to work with should all be left at the alter.

Not all prospects are created equal and learning to differentiate them and leave the deal as quickly as possible is the best thing you can do to make sure your time is spent on the opportunities that will actually close and finding new opportunities that are worth your time.

The unengaged prospect:

The most important sign that you should walk away from the deal is when a prospect isn’t doing their fair share of the sale. I’ve talked about this before. When the deal is out of whack, that is when you are doing far more work to close the deal than the prospect, the deal is not going to close and either you have to get the prospect engaged and doing their part or walk away. Every sale requires equal effort on the part of the salesperson AND the client.

Great sales processes have the prospect as engaged as possible. The prospect is doing as much work as the salesperson. When the sales person asks to be introduced to the other stakeholders, it happens. If the sales person needs specs, a current org chart, the current success measurements, the decision criteria, or anything else, the prospect gets it to them. Why? The prospect understands participating in the sales process is in their best interest and it allows them to make a better decision. When prospects are engaged and committed to the selling process, the deal has a much higher chance of closing.

If a prospect isn’t or won’t participate in the selling process, when they aren’t responsive to the sales person, when they can’t or won’t deliver on a sales requests then that’s a HUGE RED FLAG and it needs to be addressed right away. Here’s the deal, when prospects aren’t responsive it usually means, they aren’t really ready, they don’t have the authority in the first place, they’re just “looking,” they’ve already found another solution and are working you for better pricing or any other myriad of detrimental reasons to the sale. The bottom line is, if your prospect isn’t engaged in the sale with you, then you need to get them engaged or walk away. Don’t be the customers bitch. Don’t burn days, weeks or even months on a deal that isn’t going to close.

It’s not a good fit:

If you’re truly a sales person, you understand that it’s your job to deliver the best solution to your customers and prospects that will enhance or improve their business.  If your product or service doesn’t do that, then you have an obligation to say; “Mr or Ms. customer, but based on what you’ve told me about your business and what you’re looking to accomplish, I don’t believe we are the best solution for you. Let me recommend; A, B, or C, companies. I think they would provide what you’re looking for.”

It’s that simple. If you’re product isn’t the best fit for what your buyer is trying to do, then cut em loose. Period!

They are a bad fit:

Yes, some customers or prospects are bad fits. How they do business doesn’t align with your companies values. Their vendor management culture and approach are abusive or not value based. When your company and your prospect don’t seem to “gel” from a cultural perspective or they are difficult to work with, cut em lose. Don’t waste your time getting your ass handed to you during a difficult sales cycle only to bring on a crappy customer. Shitty customers are expensive. Don’t bring on a customer that you’ll just wish you could fire a few months later.

When all they care about is price:

Ever have a prospect that all they care about is price. They are so price sensitive, it’s all they are focused on? Good, kick em to the curb. If your prospect is solely focused on price, they are unable to see value or create value. Therefore, unless you are the cheapest competition, you don’t have a chance to win. Don’t spend 10 seconds on a deal whose sole decision criteria is price.

We only have so much time in a day to get deals done. Spending time on deals that won’t get done is  a quota killer. To avoid this trap requires you learn how to spot dead deals as early as possible. Wishful thinking, false sense of hope, denial and fear aren’t your friends. Know when deals aren’t really deals at all and get out. Spend the time working on deals that actually have a chance.

There is no law that says you’re supposed work every opportunity to find. The law says, you’re supposed to make quota and shitty opportunities keep this from happening.

Like most things, work the good, get rid of the bad.