Had a great first meeting with a potential client, the other day.
Everything lined up:
We had shared values, he was coachable, he liked my approach – perfect fit.
When asked what the next step was, I suggested an initial consulting session at $400, and then he’d we’d figure out how to move forward.
Told me: “Yes, sounds good!”
But then: “I’ll need to let you know tomorrow – I have another consultant booked in for tomorrow, and I want to give the guy a chance”.
Warning sign, but not unfair or unreasonable.
Besides, this prospect is highly conscientious, so it makes sense to give him space to reflect and do due diligence.
The next day though: no news.
Bigger warning sign.
Day after that:
“I’m going to let you know on Monday. That guy wasn’t the right fit, but somebody else showed up that I want to talk to first”.
Ah. Not a warning sign: a kill-sign.
I mean, I still wanted to work with the guy, but:
I don’t want to be on somebody else’s hook, and I don’t want to be involved in some sort of Chinese-bidding war.
So I told him:
“Let’s take the deal off the table.
“Happy to talk again in the future, but I can only work with people if it’s a ‘hell-yes’ for both sides.
“If you’re undecided and it’s not hell-yes, we’ll have to call it a no”.
Maybe you think it’s dumb, to kill a potential deal.
After all, the guy has big plans and he’s got the money to pay for them.
Would have become a lucrative, long-term client.
But what would you prefer:
Engaging in a long, protracted conversation where someone isn’t able to make up their mind, and you have to try to convince them?
Or would you rather be talking to prospects who are on-board, certain, convinced, ready to get started?
It’s not your job to convince anyone.
When a buyer engages with you, and you present your “This is what I can do. This is how it works. This is the price”?
Then it’s their job to convince themselves that it’s right – or not right – for them.
The best thing you can do when a prospect keeps you in limbo, is simply – and politely – take the deal off the table.
Because remember: there’s countless people you could work with, but there’s only one you.
You are the prize.
P.s. Check out my 1 on 1 training programme for ethical selling, if you want to learn how to handle your sales process in a way that protects your sanity, your time, and positions you not as a commodity, but a highly desirable steward of your clients’ results.