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When You Must Walk Away from a Prospect

The art of “no deal.”

Man with hand up

In business, especially when you are working towards building your empire, it is hard to walk away from a deal.

However, it may come as a surprise to you that some clients will do more harm than good. How can you tell the good clients from the bad?

1. When They Come Looking for a Discount

You have your prices set for a reason. Why after researching and implementing a pricing strategy would you lower your standards—and your worth—to accept less. Worse still, chances are, if you offer steep discounts, or let the clients name the price, you will be hard pressed to find clients that will not come looking for the same discounts.

There will always be people who charge less than you, and there will always be people who don’t want to pay. There is no need for you to go after customers that aren’t meant for you.

2. When They Will Be a Headache

Business is stressful. I am not asking you to take the easy way out. But you work hard; you deserve someone who values your expertise. If you can tell early on that someone’s approach to business does not mesh with yours, and they are bound to be more trouble than they are worth—walk away. Why would you work twice as hard for a difficult client when you can work hard for three or four with the same effort?

3. When They Don’t Share Your Company Values

If your mission is to be the “green” alternative in your line of business—you may not want to have a company who emits the highest amounts of emissions in their field in your stable. Unless, of course, they are hiring you to figure out how to lower their emissions. You want to align yourself with people who share your values—who make you feel good about doing business with them.

4. When There Is a Conflict of Interest

Similar to the previous point, but often easier to spot. If you are in the legal field—or many other fields with a governing body— this is written directly into your code of ethics. In cases like these, it is not only preferred that you walk away from the deal,  it is required. You do not want to attempt to get around it. No deal is worth your ethics or your reputation.

When You Are Too Busy

It’s not them, it’s you. If you are too busy, and you accept a new client without the ability to provide them with the proper standard of service, you will have an unsatisfied customer. You will have earned a dissatisfied customer who may tell their friends and colleagues about their experience and cost you countless clients. If you want to protect your brand, you need to provide each client with excellent service. When you take on clients you know you cannot provide that experience for, you are not only being unfair to the client,  you are sending a message: you care more about money than people.

Have you ever walked away from a deal for any of these reasons? What would you add to the list?


Written by Joshua Lombardo-Bottema

Joshua started in business at the young age of 16 doing direct sales and progressed to owning his first franchise business by the age of 18. Over 8 years he grew his first business to a multi-million dollar business with over 10 managers, 80 staff and 25,000 customers and then sold it when he was 26. Joshua then founded and currently is CEO of, a unique At-home-or-at-work mobile auto repair service that helps people save time and money on their vehicle repairs and maintenance.

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