Five Times to Walk Away From a Sale

One of the best lessons I learned earlier in my career is to never be afraid to walk away from a sale.

Walking away from a sale isn’t easily done, especially for sales agents under the gun to meet a quota or hit a sales goal.

But often it is necessary for the simple reason that bad clients are bad for business. They sap your time, resources and energy (and often your patience) that is better spent on loyal, hassle-free clients.

That’s why I want to offer you some situations in which you should walk away from a sale.

1. When the client continually abuses or demeans you or your coworkers. You should a no-tolerance when it comes to this. It’s one thing if I customer is upset for an error you made. However, it’s a poisonous professional relationship when the client steps past this line.

2. When a cost-benefit analysis suggests that the time and energy needed to satisfy this customer is not justified by the probable gain. All sales agents have the same amount of time in one day. The most successful are those who make the most of it. Basically, fire anyone who costs twice as much in heartache as they produce in profits.

3. When you realize that your solutions really won’t work for the client. Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t have a product that a person needs. By pulling the cord on these prospects, you are saving yourself more trouble down the road. Also, a prospect will leave thinking highly of you, and as a result, may recommend you to someone who is a good match for your services.

4. When a client asks for modifications to your service or product sales that eliminate your profits. Pretty simple concept that doesn’t need much explanation. However, I’ll add a rare exception: If this particular client has successfully referred you to others, it may be worth keeping them on board.

5. When a clients stipulations put too many demands on your fulfillment team. It’s just your time you should consider. If your fulfillment team cannot serve all of your clients to the degree they deserve, it’s time to root out the deadwood.

If you’ve experienced any of the above, you understand that walking away from a sale is easier than it initially seems. It’s pretty black and white.

However, there are some gray-areas where it is not so easy to decide. Consider these shades of gray “warning indicators” that may lead to you to walk away from client or prospect.

When a prospect is fixated on price. Everybody wants a good deal. And you want to give them one. But when a prospect cannot see a product’s value beyond the price tag, he or she may not be worth the profit you gain from whatever number is on that price tag.

When the prospect is unwilling to establish a professional relationship with you. You shouldn’t set out to be a prospect’s best friend. But at the same time, you cannot exchange ideas with a wall. Understand that many people are just quiet types. But be leery of people who are continually leery of you, especially if you have met several times already.

Sometimes, these indicators aren’t always easy to notice. While some scream out like billboards hanging over a prospect’s shoulder, other times they don’t show up during an initial meeting.

But when it’s clear you have one, don’t hesitate to part ways.  

Offer a full refund. Or offer a partial refund.

Or if you’ve already fulfilled the service, let them know your work is done with them.

Getting rid of headache clients frees up your time and energy to work with families who like you, your service, and your team. 

Be valuable. 

John McCarthy
Managing Editor, Leads4Insurance.com

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