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How to recognize customer relation that will not end well

Ted Blackwater |
No matter are you selling shoes or an innovative and complex software product, there are customers that just are not worth your time and efforts.

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Here are some signs that will help you decide should you spend time on talks, negotiations and additional work.

First, be careful with the quick close.

Fast selling is good but too fast is not. If your customer is of "OK, OK, where to sign?" type, it is time to stop and think about it.

Indeed, there are people who like to work fast but nobody closes the deal without having at least minimum information. And if your customer is not asking a single question, the alarm just turned from so-so to bright red.

People who are eager to sign the contract quickly are either a) impulsive or b) something's fishy.

Usually, the sale process takes several conversations spanning several weeks, sometimes years, so if the offer to buy is coming after one mail, this is not good.

We don't want to say someone is trying to take advantage of you, we want to say be extremely careful. The best case scenario is to have a customer unsatisfied with your product and the worst is an endless going forth and back and this is waste of time and money.

On the other side of the spectrum are the "guarantee" clients.

Those are clients that want your guarantee for every single detail - and beyond. "How much will I save? I need numbers." "What about percentage?" "What are penalties?"

Now, it is absolutely normal to ask for, say, saving achieve with your product, but you can't - nobody can't - say "You will save 123,345.57." And that's exactly what those customers want to hear.

In this case, you are most probably dealing with people with too much free time and they are talking because they have nothing else to do. Because, if they are leading their company this way, you may bet it is bad company.

The micromanager and "that's my money" customer.

We all want to get the best bang for the buck, but the client can't dictate your business. Too many demands and asking to control every detail of your work is a sign that the client is treating you like its employee, not as a business partner.

Every side in a business deal must have trust in other side and when you hear "That's my money" - walk away. Yes, this is their money but why do they hire you if they don't trust you?

No matter if your are selling $10 or $1m product, if the other side is trying to control your business, that's not good.

And there are your guts.

If you, at any time during the sales process, feel that something is not right, don't ignore that feeling. From experience, that easily leads to delays and unexpected costs and new features.

Some of the biggest companies merged after smooth and relatively short negotiations. The reason? They know what to do and what they want.

So, if they can, there's no doubt you can it too, you just have to pay attention to those patterns of behavior that will save you time and money.

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