Sales – How To Get Rid of Tyre Kickers

How do we gauge whether a prospect is serious or not?


It’s a really tough question to ask. We as sales people are often caught between a rock and a hard place because we want to push prospects through the sales process, but at the same time to be effective we need to be constantly qualifying out those prospects whom aren’t serious about buying.


So first of all why do we need to qualify out certain prospects? Truthfully it’s all about time. Think of yourself and your sales role. How much time have you wasted on tyre kickers? People bench marking you against their incumbent, reviewing whether they are getting best value.


We’re all in the same position, we all have tyre kickers no matter how experienced we are in sales.

sales icon - tyre kickers

A lesson I learnt a long time ago was how to substantially reduce the number of tyre kickers I have, and it all came through analysing my sales results. Here’s how I developed the concept, at the time I was doing very well, I had made some good sales in my last year, but I knew I could do better. The trouble I had was that I was so busy! I honestly struggled to have a spare moment in the working day. I found myself being block booked with meetings, preparing proposals, making cold calls, making drop in calls, making sales, processing returns, having internal meetings…my days were jam packed.


The dilemma I had was that my schedule was full, but I wanted more. I wanted to make more sales, earn more commission and make a name for myself. But how could I do that if I couldn’t physically fit in anything else into my schedule?


It was at this point that I decided to take a step back, I said to myself, let’s review the successes I’ve had and analyse whether there’s anything I could do differently. So I did, and my findings amazed me.


One of my substantial findings was that for new business (excluding customers from this statistic) I had attended over 125 meetings in the last year alone (this was initial new business meetings). These initial meetings often led to further meetings adding close to 200 other meetings into the diary for follow up meetings, proposal presentations, head office visits etc.


What did I found from the analysis of these new business meetings? Well my close rate was a mere:



Why was this? Was it that my sales acumen that was poor? Maybe, but unlikely as my sales we flourishing. Could it be that I was attacking the wrong type of new business prospects? No, I checked this, all new prospects fell within my sweet spot of other customers.


The truth is I may never know what that true reason was, but I made a change to my approach which substantially increased my new business close rate. And that was introducing…


A Sales Litmus Test


This has been such a profound and compelling addition to my sales process that I now encourage every prospective sales icon to develop their own.


So first of all what is it?


Well a sales litmus test has one purpose, to test whether a potential buyer is serious or not. It is the step that will spilt the buyers to those whom are serious and those whom are just tyre kickers. Most likely the tyre kickers will fail to commit to the litmus test, which is great, it means we save masses amounts of time and can just focus on those buyers whom are serious.


So what are some examples of a sales litmus tests?


Well in all honesty there can be many variants, and when you start to adopt this you’ll have many sales litmus tests. Often at the initial stages a sales litmus test will require low level commitment, maybe simply time?


Then as you progress through the sales process you may have other sales litmus tests which require more commitment, for instance it could be an initial cost for say a proof of concept or consultancy work?


So, if I’m in an initial meeting with a prospect, and I’m trying to measure if they’re serious or not then my low level commitment sales litmus test could be agreeing to a follow up meeting, or joining a webinar or something like that.


Then as this prospect moves down the sales cycle, my secondary sales litmus test maybe something which requires more commitment. For instance I offer a days consultancy to scope this project which will cost X but we’ll credit you the cost if you opt for the project with us.


The whole purpose of the sales litmus test is to gauge how serious a customer is, if they fail to commit then you know they’re not serious which isn’t a bad thing by any means, you just saved substantial amounts of time.


So what could your sales litmus tests be?


Well I can give you the exact sales litmus test that will work perfectly for you as it depends on your business, industry and solution. Here are some examples of what you could use though:


  • Time investments – additional meeting, conference call, webinar, etc
  • Cost investments – initial consultancy, paid for trials, etc


If you truly want to multiply your sales and become a sales icon then spend some time now brainstorming what sales litmus tests you could use and put them into action.


I promise it will pay dividends. The more time you save dropping the tyre kickers the more time you have to focus and build your pipeline with serious buyers!


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