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Sales is all about time management. How are you going to spend your given time throughout the day to maximize your efforts? Lots of time will be spent on prospecting, follow-up, sales presentations, post-closing support, and putting out fires. And hopefully you’re using a CRM like Spiro that does everything for you so that you’re not wasting precious time updating it.

One of the biggest time sucks in sales is spending time talking to prospects who are unable, or have no intention of buying from you. If you can weed these people out quickly, you can spend that time working with prospects who actually do have a chance of buying from you, so it’s important to be able to identify people who aren’t going to buy quickly. Of course, a deal might still close even if you’re seeing some of the big warning signs, but allocating your time to more promising deals is almost always the smarter move.

To help you do that, here are five quick ways to tell if you’re not goingto close a deal:

1. Decision maker

If you’re not speaking to the decision maker, then the chances of you closing the deal without talking to them is very, very low. Of course, there are some exceptions and some people have others begin the shopping process for them. But if you ask the right questions up front and find out that you’re not speaking with the person who is going to make the final decision, then you should proceed accordingly: find out when and how you can speak to the person who is going to be making the final decision and make sure that you have an opportunity to present to them.

2. Only priced focused

If the first and only thing a prospect wants to talk about is price, chances are the only way you will win the deal is if your product is priced the lowest. Price shoppers tend to care less about value and more about the bottom line, and that’s ok. But it’s important to recognize this type of prospect for what they are. In most cases, your price won’t be the lowest on the market and closing this deal will prove to be a challenge. If all of the prospect wants to talk about is price, your best bet is to give them your lowest price and move onto someone who is interested in benefit and value.

3. Bad fit

If someone needs a flat head screwdriver, you might be able to sell them a Phillips-Head screwdriver, but it still won’t accomplish their goals. Sometimes your product is just a bad fit and it’s better to cut your losses quickly than to spend precious time trying to tailor what you’re offering to what the customer is looking for. Of course there are exceptions, especially at the higher price point where landing a huge client can be worth investing time into product development. But most of the time, you’re better off spending time looking for prospects that are a good fit instead of pursuing ones that aren’t.

4. Vague answers

If you’ve ever spoken to a prospect that’s reluctant to answer your questions and go into detail about anything to do with their needs, then you probably remember that you didn’t close the deal. Somebody who is truly interested in a product is willing to answer questions and can provide context for what it is they’re looking for. They have a need or an interest and are willing to open themselves up a bit to explore it. But those who are merely kicking tires or even researching the competition will be vague and unwilling to tell their story. It’s almost always a red flag that it’s time for you to move on.

5. Too good to be true

Yes, sometimes deals come in out of nowhere where the prospect knows what they want, are willing to pay for it, and sign the paperwork right away. Sometimes! But most of the time if you’re talking to a prospect who seems overly interested and enthusiastic and it seems just a little bit too good to be true, it is. There’s not much rhyme or reason to explain this phenomenon in sales, but anybody who’s worked for long enough will recognize that it’s true. If somebody calls you, or you call them, and they’re telling you exactly what you want to hear…chances are you’re not going to close that deal.

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About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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