How to Recognize a "Bad Prospect"

By Stirling H. Thomas

In his information-packed booklet, Selling: The World’s Best Paying Hard Work! sales pro Stirling H. Thomas describes his simple strategy for dealing with bad prospects: "The Hell with them!" Here, excerpted from the booklet, are the 12 characteristics of the bad prospect. Recognizing them can save any salesperson valuable time and effort.

Bad prospects:

1. Start right off with price.
2. Have been shopping around for "the best deal."
3. Are short on facts about their problem.
4. Want a quote over the phone.
5. Are not interested in a visit to discuss details.
6. Tend to be impatient or even rude.
7. Are not interested in a brochure or data sheet.
8. Tend to be a know-it-all.
9. Have little or no knowledge of your product or service.
10. Lose all interest if you give a ballpark price.
11. Never seem to be available for return phone calls—or you always get an answering machine or no answer.
12. Ask lots of detailed questions about how you would solve their problem, but they don’t want to see you and they say they will "Get back to you."

The conclusion? In Thomas’s words: "Your most important asset is time. Don’t waste it on these ’tire kickers.’ Your smartest move is to say, ’To hell with them!’"

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Author Bio: Stirling H. Thomas has been a salesman for 42 years. He sold the first solid-state Univac computer on the East Coast, and he hasn’t stopped running since. He can be reached at or at 860-482-2455.

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