Top Salespeople Know When To Walk Away


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You probed, elicited needs, and you tried to advance the buyer to the next stage of the process.

And all of a sudden, you’re getting nowhere, fast.

When you call, the secretary says he’s always in a meeting. He doesn’t respond to your voice mails.

What do you do?

Keep him in your teaser file and continue to bombard him with calls? Send him a barrage of emails? Hope that there is still life in the deal?

I don’ think so. You’ve done the best you can do. It’s time to walk away.

But this is hard, because we feel invested and we want to get some payback. Also, we know how difficult it is to simply get people to any stage in the buying pipeline, and we’re reluctant to start again at the beginning.

But these reasons aren’t valid enough to justify throwing good money after bad.

You should still walk away.

I am one consultant and coach who believes that salespeople can be way too persistent with the wrong prospects, people who have already signaled hostility or hopeless indifference to our offers.

Hostility means they’ve taken a hardcore negotiating position that says take it or leave it.

Hopelessly indifferent people become unreachable, hiding behind the electronic fence of voice mail and secretaries who suddenly sound completely uninformed about anything.

Today, sadly, we have lead tracking software that keeps us hunting long after the scent of our quarry has left the forest. We never quite flush these losers from our systems.

Today, on a visit to a company in Las Vegas, I interviewed a salesman and asked him about the six prospects he currently had in an advanced position in the pipeline, ready to close at any time.

“Do you remember when you first called them?” I asked.

“Yes. ”

“Could you tell then that these prospects were special, that they were probably going to go the distance with you?”

A slight pause followed. He lit up.

“Yeah, I DID know they were solid!” he replied, realizing perhaps for the first time that really good prospects stand up and shout, “”I’m worth your continuing effort!”

The rest are, for lack of a better term, losers.

Look through your database, and be ruthlessly objective. Purge all names that haven’t shown very recent and substantial interest. Focus only on those who have, and on fresh leads.

You’ll do yourself a big favor!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. A frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: .


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