September 11, 2012


Professional sales training emphasizes that salespeople should have a high degree of “stick-to-it-ness,” meaning that getting hit with objections or flat-out rejection should not dissuade them from continuing to try to make the sale. In fact, they are taught that objections are actually milestones along the route to getting the final “yes,” as they show the prospect is interested and provide something which the salesperson can use to build more rapport and reduce apprehension.

This training can be a liability if salespeople are not also taught that there are circumstances where they should park their persistence and walk away from a transaction, as not doing so can hurt their morale and business.

Here are a few scenarios where it might be better to give up a potential commission rather than suffer through the transaction.

The prospect drains your time and energy

While some big-ticket transactions take months in order to develop a relationship and finally close the deal, most sales take place within the framework of a few hours or days. However, some prospects, known as energy vampires, will prolong any sort of closing with sometimes ridiculous demands and conditions, never appearing to be satisfied. Once they do buy, they will drive the fulfillment or account servicing team up the wall and generally cause a lot of disturbance.

This type of buyer also tends to complain incessantly about you and your company, product/service, and things in general, and will leave you feeling exhausted and defeated. The solution is simply to drop them, or refer them away.

The prospect is buying your offering based on price alone

The danger of this type of transaction is that the buyer will most likely continue to shop the salesperson until delivery takes place, or even try to return the product for a refund should they find a cheaper alternative elsewhere.

Walk away from those who do not seek real value and only bottom line savings, as they will not be loyal.

The product or service is not suited for the buyer’s needs

This is a tough one, as some buyers will choose to buy simply because they like the salesperson, even if the offering it is not the right one for their needs. Professional sales training teaches that people buy from those they like and trust, not necessarily those with the best offering, and this can be abused to upsell useless add-ons or even a model that simply has a higher commission.

It is better to be honest and recommend another solution, whether it be a less profitable one (for you) or even a competitor. The negative feelings and word of mouth you will otherwise create will not be worth the commission dollars.

The buyer demands a kickback or bribe

It can be tempting play along with a buyer who can hand you a large volume of business in exchange for “a little something under the table,” but not only is this unethical, it is also illegal in many cases as well.

Although a different picture is often presented in the media, your integrity is truly more important than your paycheck, and transgressions against your own moral code tend to backfire. This is not any sort of mystical mumbo-jumbo, it is simply observable, especially in recent times with all of the financial scandals that have taken place. Just say no to bribes, kickbacks or any other illegal activity.

In conclusion, professional sales training should teach a salesperson to trust her gut, as instincts can be useful yardsticks in determining whether a situation is worth the trouble — or will just BE trouble.