By Thomas Young
Time is money. One of the sales professional’s worst nightmares is the time-waster. These are prospects, or customers, who do not say yes, or no, to your offer, but rather delay or drag-on the sales process and waste valuable time. Time spent with these individuals is like throwing money away. The difficulty is that many of these prospects seem to be seriously interested in buying and most sales reps realize they are time-wasters after it is too late. Here are a few tips on recognizing time-wasters and how to deal with them.
Prospect Your Target Market
Prospect the right way and know your target market and their parameters for doing business with you. This helps you cover the bases and avoid time-wasters who are not in your market. It is important that you have an ideal customer profiled and you understand how to find more customers that fit that profile.
Qualify with Solid Questions
Be ready with solid probing questions that help qualify the buyer. This may weed out the time-waster before you spend hours on follow-up and research. Ask the customer, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” If possible, talk to others who know this prospect. Good probing questions, early in the sales process, can help uncover a time-waster. If they ask for the same information repeatedly, they may be a time-waster and you need to probe and find out the true story.
Lack of Objections is Not Good
If there is a lack of objections, then it could be a time-waster. Objections are buying signals and generally a part of the selling process. Objections come from prospects that are serious buyers and are looking to find ways to make the sale happen. Handling objections is a part of closing; if they are absent it could be a red flag. If the sale seems to be too easy, it could a time-waster.
Develop Your Intuition
Develop your intuitive abilities so you can read a time-waster before they waste your valuable time. This is difficult to do; yet the best salespeople are excellent at this intuitive skill. Maintain balance in your life to reduce stress and help you give energy and attention to others. This helps you learn what people are thinking. Take time for yourself and develop your mental, spiritual, mental, physical and emotional parts of your life. High-level selling is an understanding of human psychology and developing intuitive abilities.
Give People a Way Out
Many time-wasters waste your time simply because they cannot say no or do not want to hurt your feelings. Give them an out and let them feel comfortable in saying no. These people may seem to be too nice, or overly concerned about your feelings. The primary goal is to help people, not make a sale. If they do not need or want help then it is time to move onto the next prospect.
The Authority to Buy
Oftentimes, you may be wasting time with an individual who has no authority to buy. Probe carefully here to determine if the sale is going nowhere. Ask questions about how purchases are made and who is involved in the buying decision. Attempt to determine who is the economic buyer and meet with her. If access is denied, find out why. Your sale may be lost at that point, or you may have to change your approach.
Know When to Stop Selling
Professional salespeople must know what they can control and what they cannot control. This is why it so important for you to remain in control and know when to stop selling to a time-waster. Let the prospect know that you are ready to move forward when they are and the time for a decision is needed. Then move on to the next customer.
Tom Young, MBA is president of Intuitive Websites, a sales training and marketing consulting firm helping companies increase revenues. He can be reached at 719-481-4040, or email at [email protected].