Salespeople should know that not every prospect that crosses their path would make a great business partner, and some prospects should be disqualified (forever!). Understandably, it’s tough to turn away a potential sale, but according to Colleen Francis, it’s vital to do so when a prospect poses more of a threat than a lucrative opportunity in the long run.

After 20+ years in the sales industry, Francis has come up with a list of five types of people that should immediately be disqualified as a prospect. She identifies each type, and then explains why he or she would not be a good client. Below are three of those “no-no” prospects:

  • The Shopper – This prospect is considering a variety of businesses, including yours. She is unable (or unwilling) to share why she is considering the alternatives. This reveals that likely, she is just using you to compare prices and features and is not serious about giving you her business.
  • The Snail – Like the name implies, this prospect is sluggish. “ A time frame and a budget cannot be established. The prospect is telling you that someday in the future there might be a reason to go forward but nothing can ever be set in stone,” Francis writes. “Deadlines come and go. This is a sign that while they might be interested there is no urgency.” You never know what is going on behind the scenes, and if a prospect is dragging his feet, it’s likely he doesn’t really need your services.
  • The Hide-and-Seeker – This prospect refuses to grant access to the decision-maker of her company. If she is dragging her feet now, it’s a sign that you likely will never speak with the buyer and it’s time to move on to prospects who will grant access.

While it’s difficult to turn away potential business, you are saving yourself a lot time, energy and patience when you disqualify a problematic prospect from the get-go. Use Francis’ advice to steer clear of those who will be more of a pain than a lucrative partner!