It happens sometimes: You meet a new prospect, engage in some conversation and learn what’s going on with their business. During the discussion, you realize it’s not going to work out with this new prospect. Maybe you don’t offer what they’re looking for or you can’t produce the results they seek. Still, the prospect wants to work with you. 

What do you do? According to sales expert Anthony Iannarino, you need to turn them down. Doing anything else simply wouldn’t be right.

In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share Iannarino’s thoughts on why declining the wrong prospects can be a strategic move in sales.

Mismatched expectations. Iannarino says that in the industry he grew up in, there were many reasons a prospect may not have been a good fit. For example, if a prospect paid below-market rates, he wouldn’t continue the conversation. The same is true for you: If you know a prospect isn’t right for you, don’t be afraid to walk away.

You know the prospect is toxic. Not all prospects turn out to be dream clients. If you meet a prospect who you know will treat your team poorly or make it difficult for them to succeed, Iannarino says it’s best to walk away. He recommends paying attention to MQ, which stands for moral quotient. The lower the moral quotient, he says the more you can be sure your prospect won’t be a good match. For example, if a client asks for a kickback or some other crime, there’s a clear MQ mismatch.

You know the relationship will be problematic. Maybe the client won’t pay their bills on time and you have to hound them to pay their invoices. Or maybe they have unrealistic expectations, Iannarino says, and they expect you and your team to perform miracles. If you sense that a prospect will be an issue in the future, it’s best to politely decline the business. This frees up your time to work with clients that are a better fit. 

You don’t want to make things difficult for your team. Iannarino says that if you never decline a prospect, you’re bound to have problems with the ones you should have walked away from. Do you want to add unnecessary stress to your team? That’s essentially what you’re doing if you take on clients you know are wrong for your company. He says that it’s better to maintain your integrity by saying “no” to the prospects you don’t want in your portfolio.

It may seem counterintuitive, but turning down prospects can sometimes be the right move. When you know someone just isn’t the right fit, be upfront but professional when turning them down. How you say no can help you avoid misunderstanding and potentially leave the door open for future opportunities down the road.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Anthony Iannarino is an experienced sales expert, speaker, author and entrepreneur. He’s the founder of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting firm.