How To Spot A Prospect Who's Not Right For You

BY Jessica Helinski
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Sometimes, relationships just aren’t meant to be, and this goes for professional relationships, too. Saying sayonara to a prospect may seem crazy but there are times when doing so will actually help your business in the long run. “Walking away is hard,” writes Aja Frost in a HubSpot article. “It’s especially hard when you’re walking away from a potential deal — after all, you’ve spent time, energy, and resources building a relationship, and giving up means you’ll have nothing to show for it.” It may seem counterproductive to turn away a prospect, but it will save potential headaches down the road. Also, you will save yourself time and money that might have been wasted.

According to Frost, there are signs that a prospect may not be a good partner. She highlights seven of these signs that you should look for when evaluating a prospect. Any of these signs should be a warning that you may be dealing with a bad-​fit prospect.

The first sign involves a bit of detective work on your behalf. You need to uncover the prospect’s true need and how you can help–but you can’t do it on your own. Frost shares three questions that a prospect should be able to answer:

  • What does success look like with this project?
  • Who else will be involved in this decision?
  • When is the project due?

A red flag is a prospect's inability to answer these.

Another sign is lack of budget. If you hear the prospect saying things like, “we really don’t have the budget for this” or “I can’t afford that price,” you might want to reconsider further pursuit. Take some time to discover more (such as the company’s annual revenue and other funding sources), as sometimes prospects use price as a way to negotiate final costs. But, if your findings don’t align with what you offer, you both may be better off going separate ways.

These are just a couple of highlights from Frost’s article. Her suggestions will help you better qualify prospects–even if it isn’t always easy to turn business away. As Frost writes, “when you walk away from the prospects who aren’t right for your business, you’ll be able to focus on the prospects who are.”