When to walk away

The sort of advice a wise old Grandmother would give to her wayward teenage grandson would be to learn to walk away from situations and that it takes a very strong person to do that. This is also particularly true for a salesperson.

Good initial qualification, and ongoing qualification is key. There is always a lot of pressure on a sales person to have a strong pipeline of opportunities so there is always the conflicting dilemma of showing a large pipeline of poor leads versus a smaller pipeline of well qualified potential deals.  Your sales manager is likely to ask you three simple questions:

  • Are they likely to buy?
  • Are we likely to win?
  • Is it worth it?

It only becomes harder to walk away the further one gets into the sales opportunity. At some point though – if the decision is made to walk away and if that decision is initiated by you – it has to be made for all the right reasons and you will require good support material and support from the rest of the team to back up your decision. It may take your best sales techniques to get everyone onside.

The Disruptive Selling program from Cloud 9 Solutions introduces a simple but powerful tool, to assist in qualifying and re-qualifying opportunities throughout the sales cycle. This tool can be shared with management and the team to show the company’s overall position in an opportunity, areas of concern that need to be rectified, along with areas of strengths.  A clear action plan can be created. One of these actions may be to walk away.

Deal making is glamorous, due diligence is not. It is all too easy to get immersed in the emotion of a deal, after all, you have invested a lot of time and effort in it. You have also invested a lot of your team’s time and effort. A sales cycle has its own life and despite your best b2b sales techniques – things can change, the unexpected can happen, priorities change – and therefore it remains important to continue to requalify your company’s position in an opportunity.

It may be that you have been out manoeuvred by the competition and unfortunately this can happen. Sales techniques examples are all over the internet and give advice on how to change and retrieve situations. It is however far better to recognise when you do have no chance of winning and walk away.

There is sometimes the opportunity to use the threat of walking away as a negotiating tool. You may be taking a position on something you believe to be essential for the customer, or an absolute ‘red line’ that you will not cross. However, you know that you have the weight of probability in your favour that your customer will agree with you. Brinkmanship can be very hard and this action requires a deep understanding of the customer. If successful, it has the potential to greatly strengthen your position.

There are times when a deal is just a bad deal for a company and ‘no deal’ is the better option. If that is the case you know what to do!