There’s an old adage that says, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.” If we apply this in the sales context, it absolutely holds true. Salespeople spend a lot of time and effort to close what they think is a ‘big win’ for them, and for their company in general.

However, their happy ears could turn sour when their much-anticipated sales deal end s up being a bad deal, thus costing their business more than what they should have gained from the deal. Those dozens of calls, meetings, and presentations could all go to waste when a ‘good’ prospect is not a good fit for your company.

To avoid wasting resources on bad sales, here are five major signs that a sales deal is a terrible deal.

1. A Rough and Difficult Sales Journey

It’s normal for prospects to be on their best behavior during the sales process. However, there are cases when red flags emerge even during the early stages of the sales process. If you wait until these red flags turn into bigger and inevitable problems i.e. they turn into a difficult customer, you will only find yourself in a sticky situation where you will spend significant time and resources – which you could have avoided in the first place.

2. They’re Making Excessive Demands

Another sign that a customer is a bad customer is if they are making excessive demands even before they are ready to sign the deal. This can be as simple as calling you during the wee hours of the day, or as complex as requesting for an enterprise-wide product demonstration the next day after their first call.

If the prospect is already irritating and invading your personal time, or making impossible requests before they even decide to close the deal, it’s a big sign that they will only get worse in the long run.


3. They Act Like They’re Your Boss

An ideal customer is one that trusts you as their provider and often relies on your expertise and solutions to solve their business problems. On the contrary, bad clients will treat you like you are their slave only to serve their needs.

If a prospect is not willing to take the collaborative approach, or don’t treat you like a professional, that is a red flag. Regardless if they choose you because of your excellent products and service, if they are going to micromanage everything you do, then your partnership will not bring any positive results. Working with this kind of client is like waiting for disaster to happen along the road.

4. They Want Everything to Be Ascertained

Other types of prospects  to avoid are the ones who will push you into committing to specific results or number s even before you fully understand the nature of their business.  While there are certain areas where you can make a reasonable guess, having been expected to provide accurate numbers can be very frustrating and distressing.

Coming up with an exact estimate is almost impossible, or extremely hard to achieve, to say the least. You may be lacking the full perspective of your client’s challenges, the full scope of the implementation process, or other factors that could affect the final costing of your product and service. Whether you’re a SaaS company or a consulting firm – as long as you’re selling complex business solutions, it is impossible to make exact predictions.

If a prospect tries to force you into making exact numbers, it’s a sign that they don’t really trust you or they don’t fully understand your solutions or your company. Either way, you don’t want to work with this type of customer.

5. They’re in a Rush

Prospects who are eager to close the deal are sometimes the toughest ones to maintain. Often, a prospect who wants to move the deal quickly has  already chosen a vendor but is just required to bring several options to the table before they can get the approval of the higher-ups.

On other cases, prospects who are eager to buy from you are impulsive and didn’t even go through the details of the contract, or even of the product and service itself.

Even if a customer is really eager to make the purchase decision, it is wise to spend some extra time with  them – one more meeting or phone call – just to make sure that they fully understand what they’re getting into and if you’re actually the solution that they are seeking.

While you don’t necessarily have to turn away from these kinds of prospects and sales deals, it surely helps to know what you are getting into. Overall, establishing a collaborative relationship at the early stage of the sales process can help you and your prospect manage both of your expectations and standards about working with each other.