Sometimes in life, knowing when to say No to the wrong client, can open the doors to saying yes to an ideal customer.
You might have heard that sales is a competition, where everyone in your industry is competing against one another in a coliseum. This analogy is great for salesmen who are only looking for wins. Instead, think of sales as a long-term relationship with the world.
You want your prospective clients to win at life, and in return, you also win at life. Because you're worried about making every relationship work, sometimes it's OK to walk away.
How to know when to walk away from a prospective sale
When you walk away from prospective clients, it's because that client doesn't fit your model for the perfect client. The perfect client has two characteristics:
- Low maintenance - A client that doesn't need your attention every second of every day.
- Quality relationship - When the relationship is great, the rewards for both parties are bigger than each expected of each other.
There are times when we think that perfect client or a prospective sale is within our grasp. Most of the time it's best when you give your prospective client more insight to the situation, which might work better for your company in the future.
Here are 6 things you should look for before you walk away from a prospective sale:
1. Client is only worried about price
During your conversation (not sales presentation) with the client, if they are only worried about price, they aren't looking at their problem correctly. The best solutions cost more than the cheapest. Let these bargain hunters go hunt somewhere else.
2. Client is not engaged in conversation
If the conversation feels like you're doing most of the talking, pause for a second. See if they're interested in your solution -- or in you. Remember, you're not only selling your solution, you're selling yourself. That's why small talk is important. Get to know your client better by not setting a time constraint on the meeting. After you've tried to get to know them, and they're still not interested, tell them that you will come back at a different time.
3. Best time to walk away is now
Relationships are a two-way street. You've already made the first move with the cold call and the meeting. Let your prospective clients do some of the work. Relationships require work from both parties, and good relationships work when both are willing to work for each other. Besides, you will always find a way to have their business in the future. Keep in touch, keep them in mind, treat them with respect, and see what happens.
Once you understand that they're not a good fit for you, show them where to go next. You'll win them in the future. Don't focusing on closing right away. Some of your best working relationships are with those who aren't your clients. This is because there are no stakes at hand -- you both enjoy being around each other. Besides, help your competitors grow, and in return, they will help you grow in the future.
5. Walking away is a key to success
Don't get attached to finding the big fish. Staying with the fishing analogy, go for fish that tastes good. You don't want to catch a fish that's too big to fit inside your boat. Besides, if you've heard of Pareto's Principle (80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients), you'll feel better letting go of the high-maintenance clients.
6. Have fun with the process
If you're going for win-win relationships, the business side will take care of itself. It's all about the process. Don't think of yourself as competing with others -- think of yourself as a helper. Change your client's lives in small ways. Be the light, and shine for the world.