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You spend hours prospecting, researching, making calls, sending emails and posting on social media. If you have prospects who are dragging their feet or slowing a deal down, you might be working with a tyre kicker.

The Cambridge Dictionary describes a tyre kicker as, “someone who appears to be interested in buying something and asks a lot of questions, but doesn’t buy anything.”

Sound familiar?

Tyre kickers are the people who beat around the bush, haggle on price, and generally waste your time. These are the types of prospects you should remove from your pipeline ASAP so you can focus your time and energy on better opportunities.

Quality over quantity.

Working every deal might sound like the best way to close more deals, but your time is best spent on quality leads that have a higher likelihood of closing.

So, how can separate these tyre kickers from well-qualified prospects? If tyre kickers have you pulling your hair out, use these tips and strategies to identify them.

1. They don’t match your target persona.

The first way to identify a tyre kicker is to determine if they match your target persona or customer profile.

Are they in the industry or territory you’re targeting?
Do they fit the demographics of the target persona?
Does your product or service fill a need for them?

If the prospect doesn’t meet the criteria you and your team have set then they’re not worth your time. This is one of the simplest ways to tell tyre kickers from real prospects.

2. They haven’t done their research.

Consumers and companies are more informed than ever and often research potential products and solutions before ever speaking to a sales person. Prospective customers often have a general idea of what your business does and the value it provides to customers. While you shouldn’t rule out all cold leads (those who haven’t shown interest in your business), you should keep in mind that it can take more time to nurture them. It’s especially challenging if you’re working with a prospect who seems disinterested right from the start. It takes time and energy to educate prospects (e.g. discovery calls, sending emails, providing additional resources) on your product or service’s value proposition. If you continue to work with poor-fit prospects that don’t see value in your product or service, this cuts into the time you could be using to pursue viable leads that have a need or interest in your value proposition.

3. Their need isn’t urgent.

Once you’ve identified the problem that can be solved by your product or service, it’s time to determine how important this problem is to them.

Are they highly motivated to solve it?
Do they have a timeline for when the problem should be resolved?
Is there a different issue or initiative they care about more that will compete for their attention and decision-making capital?

If the prospect doesn’t show a willingness to act or a pressing need to resolve their issue, then they might not be ready to work with you or make a purchase.

4. They don’t have the budget.

Tyre kickers often come up with budget objections, which can be an indicator that they’re not actually interested in purchasing your product or service. Or, they simply can’t afford your product.

Try asking this question: “I understand. The best products are often more expensive.”

Using this response the first time you hear “it’s too expensive” helps you separate the prospects who truly don’t have the budget from those who are just kicking tyres. It’s easier to make a sale if the prospective customer has the budget and authority to make a purchase — these are the people you should be dedicating the majority of your time on.
If there isn’t budget available, let the prospect know, “Given what you’ve told me about your budget, I don’t believe our product is the right fit for you.” When possible, provide them with free tools or resources they could benefit from in the meantime. Just because they aren’t a good fit now, doesn’t mean they won’t come back when the budget’s right.

5. They waste your time.

When you finally get on the phone with a prospect, do they stray away from the planned agenda, or go off on unrelated tangents? You might be talking to a tyre kicker. While providing a personalised experience is crucial to building rapport with a prospect and earning their trust, it puts a strain on the salesperson to answer each and every question about the product or service, provide minute details about features, and offer consultative advice. It’s important to outline an agenda for each call or meeting, but if the prospect takes full control of the conversation every time you meet, it’s challenging to make progress with them and can be a sign for you to walk away.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to identify tyre kickers, you’ll save time by keeping them in mind throughout the prospecting and qualification process. Don’t ignore the warning signs and your own intuition. If a prospect meets one or more of these indicators, they’re likely kicking the tyre and aren’t willing to move forward with or commit to purchasing. Once you implement these strategies, you’ll start to spot tyre kickers quickly, which means you can focus your efforts on working with the best-fit prospects.

Remember, the best salespeople are those who can walk away from the deal early when they recognise that it isn’t a good fit. They use the time that would be spent on tyre kickers nurturing better-fit prospects instead or prospecting to fill their pipelines with quality leads.

Are you sales people spending too much time chasing tyre kickers? Maybe we can help.