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Just Say No

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Would you be able to walk away from a sales opportunity? I’m talking about a big one, one that could help you meet your quota or, better yet, earn a nice bonus. Let’s say it’s a sales opportunity from a big-name company that, if you had them on your client list, would give you tons of credibility. Even thinking about walking away is tough for most sellers, especially considering how hard we work for a living. But, let me just say that there are times when it makes all the sense in the world.

The first time I walked away from a big sale was at the end of a calendar year. It would have been the deal that got me to President’s Club. But, as much as I wanted to make that sale, I also knew that the potential client would be making a bad decision. They didn’t want to spend more than $10,000, but they needed a system that was going to cost them twice as much. I knew that if they got the lower-priced model, they would eventually hate me for it, so I walked away. And it was tough.

I was also forced to walk out in the middle of a consulting project. My client wasn’t doing his part, and because of this, we were not able to achieve a successful outcome. Continuing to pay me made no sense for him. We had a serious conversation, and after wrapping up a few loose ends, I walked away a second time.

Again, it was tough, no doubt about it. But it was the right thing to do for everyone concerned. Being willing to not sell something is a test of a salesperson’s integrity. It requires that you put your prospect’s interests ahead of your own. It’s also that integrity that will earn you the trust and loyalty of clients who can’t wait to tell their friends about you. If you cherish short-term gain over long-term success, you will not be around for long. Today’s customer wants to deal with credible people who will tell them the truth—no matter what. Your job is to be honest and serve your clients’ interests, even if that means walking away from a sale.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.