Posted: June 08, 2012
No time for tire kickers
It can be tough to identify themBy Gary Harvey
Do you struggle with determining whether to take time to developing a selling opportunity is a worthwhile investment or a waste of time? You might think the answer is obvious: if you closed the sale, it was a good investment of time, and if you didn’t close the sale, it was a waste of time. Actually, there is some truth to that line of thinking. But the length of time to close the sale or close the file on the opportunity is how to measure whether it is a waste of time and resources.
Sales that close quickly shorten the selling cycle, adding to the number of sales that can be completed in any given period of time. More sales, more revenue and more commission means everybody is happy. Sales that take an excessive amount of resources and time are not always the best sales. Just because you closed the sale without taking into account the “cost of sale” in both resources and time doesn’t mean it was still a wise deal to pursue.
The more quickly potential opportunities can be disqualified allowing the salesperson to move on to more viable ones, the better. The longer salespeople spend time with tire kickers (what I call “suspects”) , the less productive they are. It’s all too common for salespeople to spend more time with prospects (suspects) who don’t buy than with those who do. Why? Working on an opportunity, regardless of how slim the chances are, is more desirable than going through the pain of digging up a new opportunity. And most salespeople frankly don’t know how to quickly qualify or disqualify the prospect. Just because it has a pulse and fogs a mirror, and hasn’t said no yet, does not mean it’s a quality prospect.
So, how can you tell if the prospect/suspect who is thinking about, maybe looking at the possibility of, exploring options for, giving careful consideration to, and weighing the alternatives for obtaining the product or service you sell is a real prospect or merely a tire kicker? You must have specific and clear set criteria to judge the opportunity.
The criteria should be applied throughout the selling process to make “go/no-go” decisions about continuing, yes or no, to take the time and use resources in this opportunity.
Concrete facts, not just your “gut” feeling, to do business must be established very early in the cycle. Making persuasive presentations or submitting thoroughly prepared proposals before compelling reasons for the prospect to buy your product or service is another element that must also be determined early in the development cycle to avoid what I call “unpaid consulting.”
Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or firstname.lastname@example.org.