Written by: Scott Addis My experience indicates that far too few producers have the courage to walk away from prospects. As a result, they end up working on “unqualified” opportunities for extended periods of time only to have the deals fall apart. To avoid this trap, you must set the rules of the game through a prospect criteria filter. If you let the prospective client and incumbent agent or broker control the rules, you’re going to lose!Your prospect criteria filter will enable you to pre-determine the degree to which the percentages of winning are 80% or more. Never begin the “heavy lifting” (coverage and claim reviews, employee manual analysis, critique of contracts, leases, policies and procedures, and business continuity planning) until your opportunity for success is determined.Develop a criteria filter comprised of lights – red (stop), yellow (caution) and green (go) – to assess the prospective client’s relationship with his or her incumbent agent or broker, gain access to the firm’s management team, and judge their enthusiasm for your unique process. If you get three green lights, you are off and running – a new client is around the corner. Using the filter, you can be confident in a high success ratio. If you encounter yellow lights proceed with caution and perform due diligence before committing time and resources. If you get red lights, recognize that your time, confidence, reputation, and money are at risk. There are times that you may decide to proceed with a red light. Only do this with the strong belief that you can turn a red light green.Remember, encountering red lights are facts of life. Be ready to bury your pride and graciously walk away.