Avoiding the Black Hole of Prospects – When to Walk Away
Yes, you have worked really hard on this potential deal. Yes, you have spent countless hours communicating with this prospect. Yes, it is hard to walk away. But, it may just be time to let this one go. Whenever you are developing a relationship with a potential lead, a lot of time and effort most likely goes into it. But sometimes it’s just not enough and this prospect is not worth your time. Here are a few signs that should tell you its time to walk away:
Focused Solely on the Numbers
Numbers and prices are obviously a big part of any sale. But, that should come after a relationship has been formed. If a prospect is asking about the price and costs of everything right off the bat that most likely means they are already leaning on a different product or service, or are not interested in learning about what might actually be best suited for their needs. They want a quick solution that won’t break the bank and are not ready to take the time to find the right one.
Not a Decision Maker
At the end of the day, it is a decision maker that will close the deal with you. While communicating with a prospect, ask yourself if this person can actually make the decision. Do they know everyone that is involved? Can they tell you what they see for the future, after this deal is made? Are they openly communicating with you or relaying messages to someone else in their company?
Choosing an End Date
Make sure the prospect can give you an end date or period of time where they would like to start utilizing your product or service. If it is too open-ended or they appear to be dragging their feet they will most likely not close a deal any time soon. The last thing you want is emails or phone calls going back and forth for months on end with no positive end result.
Do They Understand What They Want?
When forming the relationship with a prospect, part of it is the understanding what exactly they are looking for. Can this person, in detail, express the needs of his or her company? Talk is cheap when it is broad and unhelpful. To best fit their needs and yours, you need to know what exactly they are looking for.
Fail to See the Value
You know your product or service is of value, but do they? Sometimes a prospect might not see the true value that your product or service will bring to them. If they need constant reminders and convincing then just maybe it is not the right fit for them. If they fail to see the value, then there most likely is no value in continuing to sell to them.
Lack of Communication
One of the easiest signs to a sale going nowhere is a lack of communication. If they are simply ignoring all of your emails or phone calls, or there are large gaps of time between responses then odds are they are uninterested. In selling, persistence is key. But, after a certain point, the time spent attempting to communicate with an uninterested prospect, is better served building a relationship with someone else.
Are They a ‘Yes Man?’
Communication is a two-way street. At first, you want to listen and research as much as possible to make sure you understand their needs. But, when it comes time to demonstrate and explain your product and service, what is their response? Are they asking questions and clarifying details? Do they seem engaged? Or are they simply nodding their head and going along with whatever you say? If it is the latter, interest in your particular product or service is probably low. By asking questions and having a dialogue, the prospect is truly deciding if it is right for them. If they stop asking questions or agree with whatever you are saying, then they are most likely already thinking about a competitor and have become dispassionate.
Now, if you are witnessing some of these signs, it may be time to walk away. But, that does not mean cut off all future communication. Times change and down the line, they may in fact be in need of your actual product or service. Keep the relationship you have built whether small or strong and follow up once again down the road to gauge if things have changed.
In the meantime, do not waste your time falling into the black hole of prospect chasing. Stay on top of solid leads and don’t waste time with those who are not serious about doing business.