Have you defined what a JERK Prospect looks like?

In his 111 Ridiculously Obvious Thoughts On Selling, Tom Peters lists #36 as “Don’t waste your time on jerks—it’ll rarely work out in the mid- to long-term.”

Early this year I had a virtual conversation with a fabulous saleswoman I know, Nicole Walter, here are a few things we came up with:

  1. Many times your gut will define what a JERK prospect is.
  2. Do they JERK you around, saying one thing and doing another?
  3. Most companies are not JERKS. They just have one or two who work there.

Here are a few vocabulary words that don’t truly indicate someone will JERK you around:

  • cantankerous
  • crabby
  • cranky
  • curmudgeonly
  • grumpy
  • ornery
  • prickly

That tells you about their personality not their value system. Some people (ok, me) like grumpy (I even have a baseball hat that says “I love Grumpy Guys”), it is important not to write off a prospect because of their demeanor.

What neither Nicole or I will tolerate in prospects or customers is JERKs.

I think it bears pondering what actions someone could take that will culminate in you writing them off as a JERK. Here are my top 3:

#3 – agreeing to a conference call (or other use of corporate resources) and being a no-show

#2 – stating what their next step will be and then disappearing (leaving me in voicemail jail)

#1 –  indicating at minimum they will tell me what their decision is (with why) to my proposal, then never calling back

What are YOUR top three actions that have you walking away from a prospect or customer? I have to agree with Tom Peters and Nicole Walter; you’ll make more money calling someone else rather than chasing a JERK.

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