More often than not, sales are the lifeline of a business. If you’re not generating revenue, your enterprise won’t survive. It’s as simple as that.
So how do you ensure the money keeps coming in? Many businesses choose to pursue relationship selling – developing trust by adding value and spending time with customers before attempting to close.
One of the reasons why relationship selling remains a popular technique is because it reduces the possibility of dodgy deals. If the vendor and purchaser have established a strong relationship, it’s in their best interests to remain honest and transparency throughout the transaction.
But what if you don’t know much about the person you’re buying from? Perhaps you’re trying to establish a partnership or secure a new supplier – how do you know they’re trustworthy too?
Here are five signals which could indicate a deal is dodgy.
Failure to make payments
If you’re offering a service to customers in exchange for money, chances are you’ll provide them with your own payment terms. It’s standard business practice that ensures you always have a healthy cash flow.
However, if a customer doesn’t agree with these terms or makes late payments, alarm bells should start to ring. Also, be specific in how you want paying, as ‘cash-in-hand’ deals or receiving anything other than a verifiable business check could put you at risk.
Little respect for boundaries
The very best relationship salesmen and women will know to respect boundaries and not invade your personal time. So, if you start getting messages or emails along the lines of ‘call me now’ or ‘we need to talk’, think twice before proceeding.
“Bad customers tend to have issues with making excessive demands or failing to respect your boundaries in terms of communication or time of day,” says Gregg Schwartz of Strategic Sales & Marketing. “If you start seeing some signs that you don’t like during the sales process, you might want to consider walking away.”
It’s too good to be true
A lot of the time, vendors will provide you with a discount to secure your business. However, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Trust your intuition, check the contract conditions and be certain that you’ll be the one benefiting. After all, a discount is only as good as the overall price offered.
Too eager to close
“Sometimes the biggest red flag clients are the ones who initially seem like the easiest people to work with,” says Schwartz. “But be wary if a new sales prospect seems like they’re a little too eager and ready to close to the deal.”
Those who are too quick to buy tend to be impulsive. They might not have understood the deal or thought through the details.
Unusual contract provisions
Be extremely cautious when it comes to contracts with questionable auto-renewal clauses or provisions with pre-negotiated price hikes. This could mean services are automatically renewed if you fail to formally cancel them, costing you time and money.
You’re well within your rights to ask for better terms or request specific clauses that improve your business operations. Trustworthy suppliers will want to negotiate rather than walk away.