Let’s talk about one of the hardest things to do in our line of work: walking away.
Yes, believe it or not, there are reasons why it makes sense to NOT take the business. In fact, some of the time you actually need to fire the account forever.
I hired a seller once who was the proverbial “ball of fire.” He had no fears whatsoever and would call on or walk in on anyone you would throw his way. He hated being in the office and much preferred being out on calls, so he would map out his day and go on appointment after appointment while stopping in other places to make an introduction. He loved the station he was selling and usually came up with pretty good ideas to pitch instead of the “package du jour.” He was also someone who would never take no for an answer.
Sounds like the perfect salesperson, doesn’t it? Well, the problem was…he wouldn’t take no for an answer. You hear that, and you initially think of a person who pitches something and believes in it so much that they won’t let you say no.
In this case, the bad habit was every time he tried to close the deal, the price went down. He might’ve started with a $5,000 or $10,000 per month package, but by the time he was done, he had sold a small starter package for little money that had very little chance of working. I even recall a time he came back and was so dejected he couldn’t close a guy, he wanted to know if he could go back and offer him a free trial with a promise to buy if it worked (because what client would ever do that and then lie?!?). He had to have the win and he was never willing to walk away.
A bad habit we also see in a lot of sellers is not being able to judge whether or not the client is a “maybe yes” or a “maybe no,” and they end up spending way too much time on an account that probably wasn’t qualified in the first place.
In my experience, female sellers usually deal with this more than male sellers. I can recall an auto dealer once who would have one of our reps get in her car and drive 45 minutes to his dealership so he could “learn more about what she was presenting,” over and over and over again. The potential was certainly there as this dealer had been known to spend a lot of money in the market, but after a few times of the same story, it became clear he just wanted her attention and had no intentions of buying, he was most definitely a “maybe no.”
Time is money. When you’re selling sports radio for a living, one of the challenges is knowing how much time to spend on certain accounts. Everyone should have minimum criteria for the accounts they want to go after, and if that hasn’t been set for you, set it for yourself. Make sure it’s going to be a number where your commission is going to equal a number that will make you happy based on the effort you’ll put in. I get it, sometimes it’s hard to pass it up, and a lot of times we think it will be a “quick deal” only to end up chasing them down for copy the day before it starts while the business office is telling you the credit card declined.
What could you have done with that time? Could you have prospected a more qualified opportunity? Could you be working to get in front of a restaurant group instead of the corner bar or the dealer group instead of the one location used car lot?
It’s your valuable time at stake, so use it wisely. If the payoff isn’t there, don’t be afraid to walk away.