Most Salespeople Are Wrong about the Concept of Being Willing to Walk

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 @ 10:10 AM

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At some point in most training programs we talk about being willing to walk away.  In addition to being part of a Kurlan led sales training program, the willingness to walk away is a major focus of any training program on negotiation as well.  But most people in sales don't really understand the concept of being willing to walk, how it plays out, and what to do when you get there.  I would love to share my thoughts on this below.

I have a couple of concepts that must be understood prior to a discussion on the willingness to walk.  First, you must abandon any hope of making the sale. Read this short, but important article about giving up hope.  Second, you must be taking a consultative approach.  Read this article about how consultative selling is different and why salespeople struggle with it.  With those two concepts as the foundation, we can discuss being willing to walk away.  

I remember coaching a salesperson who was number one at his company.  He had just finished providing the background on an opportunity that didn't go as planned and he was so proud that he had walked out on the CTO.  

The problem is that being willing to walk is not actually walking out!  It's when you are willing to walk out - but you don't.  

When you reach the point that you would want to walk out you simply begin asking the questions, challenging the thinking, and/or pushing back on your prospect - only now you have nothing to lose.  Of course, you should have been asking the good, tough, timely questions right along but you either weren't comfortable, didn't think you needed to, or thought you had asked enough questions.  So now you have a second chance.  What would you say, do or ask if there was nothing on the line, no business to lose, no prospect to become upset and no boss to question your effort?

Salespeople tend to use willingness to walk as an excuse to give up on a prospect or opportunity.  Being willing to walk is a mindset, not an actual departure!  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales effectiveness, willing to walk, sales confidence

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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