Prospect Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore

BY Jessica Helinski
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Not every prospect that crosses your path will be right for you and your business. Even the prospect who seems like they'd be a dream client may not be the best partner. But how you do determine who to do business with and who to avoid? Sales professional Anthony Iannarino recently blogged about this topic, and he shared 10 signs to look for that could signal the prospect could actually be a nightmare.


Apart from the the acknowledgement of shortcomings or challenges with a current partner, a prospect’s constant complaints should be a warning sign. “You might view their complaints as proof they are dissatisfied and a compulsion to change,” Iannarino writes. [But] “It is more likely evidence they may be a difficult client with unrealistic expectations.”

Frequent Changes

Has the prospect gone through a number of other partners? If they have been cycling through other vendors, it’s likely that the issue is on their end.

Obsessed with Price

If the prospect seems obsessed with costs, be wary. As Iannarino points out, “The more time and attention your prospect places on their price, the less they spend on the outcomes they need. Every client is obligated to ask you for your best price, but your dream clients won’t make price the most significant part of the sales conversation.”


If they immediately take an adversarial approach, it’s likely that will continue if they become a client. The best clients are team-​oriented, patient and cooperative. If the prospect doesn’t act like a partner from the beginning, take that as a warning.

Poor communication

Not too many things can damage results like poor communication,” Iannarino points out. “A client that communicates too infrequently, especially when you have tried to communicate, is challenging to serve.” If the prospect is already not communicating well, it’s likely that behavior will continue once they become a client.

These are just a few of the warning signs that Iannarino urges reps to look out for when meeting with a potential client. While on paper someone may look like a dream client, if you see any of these red flags, that dream client could actually turn out to be a nightmare.

Want more ways to qualify a prospect? Try BANT!