How to Spot Tyre Kickers in Your Sales Process

It’s important to spot tyre kickers quickly within the sales process. The very best will sometimes even walk away from a deal.

We characterise a tyre kicker as a time waster. Somebody who has an underlying agenda, with no intention to buy.

Picture this scenario…

You spend over 1 hour with someone who says all the right things, they love the product and you think you have the deal. But when it comes time to talk price, they want to do nothing of the sort – it just doesn’t add up.

Later you find price you find out that they had no intention of working together, and just wanted information.

It’s maddening!

So, how can we spot tyre kickers and get them out of the sales process?

When spotting a tyre kicker, the line of questioning you use is pivotal. Since these people don’t have an intention to buy, asking direct questions around their budget, timeline and decision making process is key. Compare their answers with genuine customers to validate their interest, then you’ll know if they are a tyre kicker.

In doing so, you put value on your time and can get back to making an impact in your role.

The Problem With Tyre Kickers

The problem with accomodating to tyre kickers is that it costs time and money.

It doesn’t matter the scenario, whether you sell software or run your own business. In either scenario spotting tyre kickers early will save you hours.

I know salespeople who have rescheduled prior booked meetings to (unknowingly) accomodate to tyre kickers, and upon going back to the original prospect, they were busy and missed their opportunity.

This is how it costs you money.

How frustrating!

Not only will they take you from genuine prospects, but there is also the consideration of giving away your business insights, for nothing. This includes any consulting or marketing material you may provide after a call.

This can be particularly damaging in the case that it’s a competitor, or even someone trying to steal your ideas, because they now have all your unique selling points.

Something else to consider…

In the game of sales, whether working for yourself or at a company – momentum is key.

Have you ever noticed when you have a great month, it actually turns into an epic month comparative to others? This is because you’re confident and on a roll!

At it’s core, sales is a transfer of certainty. Certainty that you are a professional and can provide a high quality service – just as you are describing to the customer – and this shines through more when momentum is swinging in your favour.

Without an internal matrix alerting you of tyre kickers – you could find yourself doubting your abilities. Doubting the way you approached the call, or thinking you didn’t understand their pain-point emphatically enough for them to buy.

Whilst the whole time, they were never going to buy, no matter how great the pitch!

Safeguarding yourself from these scenarios will lessen any negative impact it can have on your ability to sell.

dealing with tyre kickers

In some scenarios there will be genuine buyers who are just not ready to purchase. They may purchase next quarter, but in the immediate future the timing is not right.

In these cases it’s important to not flag them as tyre kickers because turning them away, equals lost income.

So how can we accurately distinguish buyers, from non-buyers?

There are a set of uniform factors that measure a prospect’s interest in buying.

Understanding these will give an indication on if the prospect is a tyre kicker, future buyer, or genuine buyer.

how to distinguish tyre kickers

In any case, all 3 categories of prospect will show interest in your product – which is why it’s difficult to clearly distinguish buyers from non buyers.

However, as the conversation continues with a tyre kicker their answers will be very unclear and their situation will be quite general.

When you start to pick up on these indications, you need to consider how much time you will give this person. Is it 10 minutes? 15 minutes?

In the effort to maintain a high standard of customer service you should always be polite, but don’t be afraid of diagnosing the situation and stating you don’t feel it’s a good fit to work together.

You don’t want to have any harsh feelings left between the two parties. You should aim to move on as quickly as possible.

What about future buyers?

When it comes to future buyers you’ll notice that they have a valid pain, or goal, but won’t be willing to talk specifics around committing to your service.

This can lead you down the path of thinking they aren’t worth your time.

The reality is that they just haven’t prioritised your solution to the point of making a decision.

In these instances always propose a time to check back in with them.

Remember to maintain the relationship with future buyers by sending them pieces of content related to their situation; case studies or blog content.

That way, when it’s time to meet or chat with them again you can pick up the conversation from where you left it.

what questions to ask tyre kickers?

Now let’s talk about the EXACT line of questioning and the EXACT questions you ask when spotting tyre kickers.

These questions are based off of The 5 Power Disqualifiers, a concept created by marketer Perry Marshall.

The disqualifiers are important to incorporate within your questioning because they are always present when someone won’t buy, and always dormant when someone buys.

The 5 Power Disqualifiers

1. Do They Have a Bleeding Neck?
There needs to be a major sense of urgency to the prospect. Are they losing money, losing sleep, have a major pain within their business? This will signal a prospect’s likelihood of making a decision quickly.

Questions you should ask:
– What are the key challenges in your business right now?
– How long has ‘XYZ’ challenge been there?
– What have you tried in the past to fix this challenge?
– What impact is this having on your business?

2. Do They Buy Into Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
There’s competition in every market, so the prospect must align with the equity in your brand. They need to see that what you are offering will take them from their point of pain, through to a place of joy where they will prosper.

Questions you should ask:
– Can you see yourself using this to improve your situation?
– Knowing this about your business, do you like ‘XYZ’ features?
– State a benefit and assess response.

3. Do They Have Money?
This one is easy. Can they afford what you are offering.

Questions you should ask:
– Have you considered a budget for this project?
– Is there a world where you see yourself spending ‘XYZ’ price?
– What departments is the budget tied to?
– Will this expenditure be used this financial year, or next?

4. Do They Have the Ability to Say Yes?
Are you speaking with the decision maker is the real question here. So often a decision maker will delegate a task to a subordinate team member, who, has the power to say ‘no’ but never to say ‘yes’.

Questions you should ask:
– Do you have final sign off?
– Is this spend coming from your own budget?
– What is the typical decision making process?
– How will you know if you’ve made the right choice?
– Are there other stakeholders involved, if so, who?

5. Does What You Sell Fit Within Their Overall Plans?
The prospect may have competing interests stopping them from saying yes. For example, you sell digital marketing. You find a perfect prospect but they are rebuilding their website, chances are you’ll have to wait for website completion before they give you the green light on moving ahead.

Questions you should ask:
– We can get this up a running in 2 weeks, would that suit you?
– Will you be able to commit 1 hour for on-boarding?
– What is your deadline for making a decision?

Final Thoughts on Spotting Tyre Kickers

Tyre kickers just aren’t worth our time – we know that now.

In some scenarios they can even have a more severe impact than just taking up time and money.

The very best of us quickly realise that although these prospects seem interested, it’s all manufactured for an underlying agenda. Our time can be much better spent nurturing real deals within our pipelines.

With a sharp internal system for spotting these time wasters and armed with our astute line of questioning, you’ll never have to worry about these kind of prospects again.

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