542: 4 Red Flags Telling You a Buyer is a Bad Fit | Master Sales Training Series

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Are you looking for signs that your customer isn’t the right fit? Tune in to this week’s Master Sales Training Series as George Leith highlights 4 red flags telling you a buyer might not be the right fit for you.

Here are 4 signs that a buyer is a bad fit:

  1. Bad on paper
  2. Flaky at best
  3. Resources don’t meet the need
  4. Lets their emotion get the best of them

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4 Red Flags Telling You a Buyer is a Bad Fit


George: Do you recall a customer that represented a drop in the bucket in terms of your overall revenue but they seem to take up an ocean’s worth of your time? I’m here to warn you that taking on a bad-fit customer will not only bring stress and unnecessary heartache for both you and the customer but bad-fit relationships take your time and attention away from your good-fit customers. And when it comes to sales, accountability is the key. In fact, these bad-fit customers could be damaging your reputation as an organization. In today’s episode of the Master Sales Series, we’re going to examine four red flags you should watch out for. We’re gonna help you spot a bad-fit customer from a mile away. And this is with everybody’s best interests at heart because those bad-fit customers, they’re not enjoying their relationship with you either. So, before either of you stumbles into a partnership that’s just plain painful for everyone involved, let’s walk through the four red flags telling you a buyer is a bad fit. On this week’s episode of the Conquer Local podcast, the Master Sales Series.

1. Bad on paper

George: So, number one in our four red flags telling you a buyer is a bad fit. They’re bad on paper. When putting together research on your best-fit customers, it’s also important to identify who would be a bad-fit customer based on your set of criteria. If a prospect’s company is much larger or smaller than your ideal customer profile, that could indicate that they might be a bad fit or if their company revenue is beyond or below what your typical customer has, then they might just be outside of the spectrum of where you can properly serve the client. It makes sense to listen for those indicators at the outset. Do a little bit of research. You know, we can all be attracted to whale hunting, as I like to call it. But that can cloud your vision with the promise of the big spend. You spend months and years trying to get the whale and then when you get them, you turn out that no one wins because you’re not able to give them a great customer experience and turn them into a raving fan. It’s equally disappointing on the other side when your customer has to go through that horrible experience where you’re just not ready. Like I like to say, sometimes you’re just not tall enough to ride the ride. So, do the research. Take a look at your existing customers where you have a great fit. Look to see if the customer you’re trying to attract might be outside of your stretch, where you’re really gonna have a hard time fulfilling the promise that you’ve given to them. I’m all for stretching but it should never be at the risk — it should never be at the risk of a great customer experience.

2. Flaky at best

George: Now, this one’s a tough one to talk about. Customers that are flaky at best, is number two. They’re a no-show to a meeting. Once, now that’s shame on you. No-show to a meeting twice, that’s shame on me. I have this rule that I will wait seven minutes for a customer on a scheduled meeting. I’ll send the email at about five minutes and if they don’t show up after seven minutes, I’m gonna go accomplish some other things in my to-do list. Now, some people have challenged me on that saying, “Why, it took you five months to get that meeting with that customer and they’re only a few minutes late.” But what would happen if you sat there for a full hour and the customer showed up an hour later and they’re like, “What, you just have nothing better to do than sit around and wait for people to show up for meetings?” We all understand that life can happen and a rescheduled meeting here or there is nothing to be concerned about. When a prospect or a current customer makes a habit of it, they’re starting to take advantage of you and it may be time to consider whether the partnership is a right fit or not. Not only has the opportunity been missed to help aid the client in adoption and success, you’ve now wasted that 30 to 60 minutes of your time. And when you add that up, it all starts to lead to you not having a good-fit customer. In the words of our CEO, Brendan King, “we can always get more resources,” meaning money and talent, “but the one thing we can’t get more of is time.” It’s truly our most valuable resource and I encourage you to protect it and keep an eye out for those, flaky at best, non-fit customers.

3. Resources don’t meet the need

George: Resources don’t meet the need is number three on our top four list. Even though your solutions might be exactly what the client needs, the client may not have the resources needed to make a successful partnership. And that’s why we want to ask those questions. And it’s not just about budget, it’s about, are you prepared to invest the time that it’ll take to implement the tools that we have, so that you can be successful? And make sure that you check this out before they sign on the dotted line. Like the number of times that I get on calls with customers and I find out that they have misaligned expectations and it could have just been solved by a simple question, we know that this will take 30 to 35 hours a week of your time to be successful. Do you have that time to make that investment? And if they say, “Oh no, it’s a part-time gig, I might have five hours.” You know, if time and the investment of that time is really important to move forward, you better verify that early in the discovery phase. The other thing is, what if you didn’t have the buyer on the call and you went through hours upon hours of demonstrations, pilots, just to find out that the person that actually signs the check and allots the budget has not even been involved in the conversation. That’ll make you wanna kick your own ass and go back and get that time back. So again, it comes down to time. But what we are identifying here in number three, you’ve gotta make sure that the resources that they have available on their side is what’s required to be successful in the partnership and will help them to reach the goal that they have. This is also where you can identify if their goals are pie in the sky based upon the resources that they have to meet them. Again, you may have to cut your losses and walk away if you recognize their resources don’t meet the need.

4. Lets their emotion get the best of them

George: Number four, and I actually am guilty of this a few times, but they let their emotions get the best of them. It’s common to find best-fit customers who are passionate about what they do; they’ll engage in a lively debate; their energy levels might get elevated when they’re speaking about the things they care about but there’s a red flag you want to keep an eye out for. And that’s customers who let their emotions get the best of them. I’m not talking about passion ’cause I’m guilty of that pretty much every second that I breathe but it’s about the point where the interaction is no longer professional or productive. I’m not even talking about they’re passionate because you screwed up and maybe they were mad and they said a bad word. That’s part of just customer service. But you’ve given them a chance to cool off. You’ve offered them guidance, you showed them best practices. And just at the drop of a hat, they’re off the charts. These emotionally charged clients can be difficult to manage and you’ll end up spending the most of your time trying to calm them down in order to do business with them. Don’t ignore when a customer is trying to show you their true colors and carefully consider whether or not you’re willing to put up with it on a long term. I like to think about partnerships in years, not in weeks or hours. It’s like when you think about a marriage, and I’ve had a few of them. When you think about a marriage, you’re in it for the long haul and you want to see what people are like when they’re happy, when they’re sad, when they’re mad, and see if that’s gonna be a relationship that you can work with.


So, here’s my conclusion on this. And this is a tough topic because I love selling but I want to have partnerships with people who appreciate what we bring to the table and also that we can have a long-lived partnership where we mutually benefit both organizations long into the future. So, here’s what we want to do. Wrap things up if you come across these red flags. And it’s okay to say, “You know, I’ve looked at this, we’ve done the discovery, I’ve tried to put a strategy together that I think is gonna work but I just don’t think there’s gonna be a fit between our two organizations.” It’s gonna be tough in the first– if you’re used to just saying yes to everything, it probably is the reason why you have no time in the day and your customers leave you because part of a negotiation is saying no sometimes when they’re asking for things that you don’t actually do. And then there’s the other thing where you might identify a red flag and it’s too late. You’re already working with them You’re gonna have to fire the customer. And that’s a hard thing to do. But I’ll tell you what, if you find that there’s not a fit and you’ve tried everything in your power to make it successful and now you’re starting to add up all the hours that you’re wasting, the only way out of it is to fire the customer. And it’s super hard to do because I think all of us like to win. Cut your losses, end the relationship before you waste any more of your valuable time. The energy that you are expelling to try and fit a square peg into a round hole could be better spent on good-fit customers and there are lots of them to go around. If you liked this Master Sales series and the four red flags that you are in a bad-fit customer relationship, try out episode 529: 10 Elements of a Successful Sales Pitch or episode 511: The 11 Mistakes Customer Success Professionals Should Avoid. Please subscribe and leave us a review. And thanks for joining us this week on the Conquer Local podcast. My name is George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.

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