Not every sales deal is a good one, and many reps find this hard to accept. Who would turn away the opportunity to make money? It turns out, clients who aren’t a good fit can do more harm than good. Sales Hacker contributor Amy Volas agrees that bad business isn’t worth pursuing, writing that “…it does way more damage in the long term than it helps in the short term.”
But, while reps may recognize they are in the middle of a bad deal, they likely have no idea how to professionally back out. There are ways to tactfully remove yourself from a business situation without burning bridges or tarnishing your reputation. Volas offers a step-by-step guide to doing so, and here is the first to get you started:
- First, hit the pause button. You need time to sit back and evaluate the entire situation. To get a good gauge of the big picture, she suggests asking yourself the following questions:
- Is it actually a bad situation or can you correct it?
- Are you in a contract?
- What obligations do you have to fulfill?
- Is this a new customer or existing?
Your answer can help get a clear perspective on the relationship and decide the best way to proceed. Often, you can correct the situation (usually with improved communication). But, if you can’t, then it’s time to carefully move forward to end things. Volas suggests looking over any existing contracts to uncover obligations, as well as reviewing all past touch points. “The goal here is to figure out what is going on and make sure you can articulate it,” she explains. “The more work you do up front, the better you’ll be able to handle the coming conversation in a non-emotional fashion in the moment (critical to making sure they remember you favorably).”
The next step can be the most difficult: Pick up the phone and verbally put things on hold. Check out Volas’s article to read how to do this with grace, as well as the third step in her process. With her advice, detaching yourself from a poor professional relationship can happen without burning bridges and “actually set you up for greater success later.”