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The Boomer Bulletin - 2013
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Stop Selling to These Four Types of Prospects Now!

Posted By Eric Hunt, Thursday, September 12, 2013

My definition of revenue generation is that it is the science of attracting and retaining clients.  We all know that retaining clients is much less expensive than trying to replace them with new ones.  The problem is that if you don’t find new business, the odds of success go down.  Generating new revenue is essential for the growth of your company.  Too often, people will take any new business they can get because they want the revenue.  You have to be very careful in your selling process to make sure that you find the right fit for you and your team.  A "yes” doesn’t always mean a "win” when you take the whole picture into account.  Contrary to what many salespeople will tell you, not every signed deal is good deal.

It is much better to identify problem prospects before they become problem clients.  There are four types of problem prospects I have determined that I don’t want to work with.  They will drain time, energy and team resources once they are signed.  Once they are clients, they almost always prove themselves to be "D” clients.  Cutting "D” clients is MUCH harder than dealing with them during the sales process when you can cut your losses without having any money change hands.  Sign them and many other issues come into play.  What are these four types of problem prospects you should avoid?

  1. The Tease – This is the prospect that tells you over and over how much they love your company and that they really want to work with you.  You go back and forth with them only to find that they never really plan to commit.  Frustration builds because you know they would be great to work with and they know they need your services. However, they never actually end up committing. The Tease can drag out your sales cycle for months if not years, yet never do any business with you.  
  2. The Low-Baller – Price is always an issue for the Low-Baller.  I have no problem with a prospect concerned with price or trying to negotiate.  I raise the red flag when the price objections are multiple and communicated with contempt.  Price concerns are a part of selling and an opportunity to communicate value. But, they become dangerous when the only way to make a prospect happy is with price concessions.  I have found that people that are only focused on price are the ones that value your service the least.  This is not the type of client you want on your books!
  3. The Know-It-All – One of the most difficult prospects to sell to, and ultimately work with, is The Know-It-All.  Every salesperson has dealt with the Know-It-All in the selling process at some point.  This is the person that seems to have all the answers and just can’t see how your service can help them.  Clearly communicating your value proposition is the objective of every business development conversation, but it can be wasted time when everything said is questioned.  If you are able to get through to them and end up signing them, they can be very difficult to keep happy due to their continued questioning of your service.  
  4. The Constant Complainer – This prospect can be extremely frustrating!  The Constant Complainer seems to think that you are available only to listen to their complaints about their company, co-workers and lives!  Part of a good sales relationship with prospects is to find out what is bothering them.  Frustration in a prospect is what drives them to need your service, but it should not turn into ongoing therapy sessions.   
These four types of prospects are examples that I watch out for during the sales process.  Honestly, there are exceptions to the rule as most prospects are good people looking for your help and expertise.  However, it is important to put your focus and energy into the prospects you feel good about and want to work with.  Trust your instincts. If you can identify problem prospects and weed them out in the sales process, they won’t become problem clients!

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