When to Give Up on a Sale

Many¬†salespeople know intuitively when they’ve hit the wall and a prospective client isn’t going to buy. Others give up too early, while still others keep hitting their heads against that wall. So when do you stop trying to convert a prospect to a client?

At a minimum, you should plan three to five sales discussions with a prospective client before throwing in the towel. Research shows that a prospective client’s first opinion is often incorrect, and that it’s not until the third exposure that the client can fairly evaluate proposed benefits. Assuming you’ve made the value of the offering clear, that’s when the client’s positive thoughts are most likely to outnumber the negatives.

The key is to keep the door open so you get to the third presentation, whether that’s in person, by phone, e-mail, or other mode. Consider staging how you communicate your marketing and sales messages to your prospective clients. Use the first interaction to spark interest, the second to clarify value, and the third to respond to concerns and ask for the sale. That sequence isn’t set in stone, your client’s needs must dictate how you proceed.

Of course, you won’t always need three meetings, sometimes once is enough for a client to buy. But even if a client says yes in the first meeting, don’t assume it’s a done deal. There is a chance that client will decide not to buy after the initial decision.

At some point, though, it’s best to call it a day. If you’ve given four or five sales presentations, you may still close a sale but, by then, the odds are working against you.

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