The words of wisdom passed from an experienced gambler can easily be translated into sales. The lyrics of this song are a timeless lesson that I'm sure many sales professionals can identify with.
"Son I've made a life out of reading peoples faces, knowing what the cards were by the way they held their eyes."
"Know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Know when to walk away, know when to run. You never count your money (commissions) when your sitting at the table. There will be time enough for counting when the dealings (deal) is done"
Know when to hold them: This is the prospect who is worth the chase. Watch for the buying signals: next steps questions, wanting to involve others from the company as part of the decision making process, communicative, focus on the solution, not just pricing: Spend your time on deals like these.
Know when to fold them: These folks are the shoppers. They are using you to comparison shop on product/services and/or to get a better price elsewhere. They don't ask a lot of questions except around price. They may have a detached attitude toward you as a sales professional and may have a better than average understanding of your competitors offering. In my mind you have two choices here; Either way you are folding. 1) low ball them and undermine your competitors pricing or 2) stand pat and let them know you don't want to be a pawn in the price shopping game and keep you and your companies self respect.
Know when to walk away: Walking away in sales can be a negotiation tactic. When you get to a point in the sales cycle where agreement has been given to finalize pricing and they start pushing harder on you that they should, present your final offer and push away from the negotiating table. Walking away can be extremely hard for a sales rep - it's counter intuitive! Your job is to read people. Are they going to buy or is this a game? Some people negotiate based on ego or wanting to win. Know if this is one of those people.
Know when to run: Run is when there is no win. Low or no margin, a high maintenance customer with little revenue, or could be you suspect they wont be honourable. This customer is like a bad ex girlfriend or boyfriend. Just break up with them and spend your time on a winning relationship.
Give some thought to the deals you are working on and determine if your time is being spent on the right prospects.
"If your going to play the game boy, your going to have to learn to play it right"
Have a great week!