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Beware of the False Potential Customer…

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Wasting-Time

We have all seen and dealt with potential customers who truly waste our time. Truth be told, they usually catch us with our guard down when times are hard for us. What is a False Potential Customer? Here are some clues:

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1. They want to talk to you but their questions are above and beyond information that you should be providing.

Minolta DSC
Minolta DSC

They ask you questions like, how many people are in your database or can you provide them with numbers of previous clients. This may not seem like a huge request but it depends on how established your business is. See if they ask you these questions as well… The best way to eliminate this is to always be on the run. When they call, tell them you are about to go into a meeting but you have a minute so that they can get to the point.
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2. They ask you to evaluate or review their product..

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BIG NO, this is the BIGGEST sign of a false customer. If you are a consultant then they need to pay for your expert opinion. Who has time to do this? This could be a trick for these people to take your advice and leave you in the dust while they use the information that you gave them to do the work themselves.  They may even be smart enough to brag about how much they love what you do first. I call this “Dangling the Carrot.” It’s an effort for you to think you are may get their business if you help them. Don’t fall for it. Tell them you will be glad to evaluate their product once the account is established.

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3. They ask you for references on competitors.

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Do you see this train coming? Most people will tell you never say anything bad about your competition but in this case it may bite you in the ass. This person is letting you know they are not loyal to your services. This is a great warning. If you say good things about your competitor, it may give them the deal. I play coy in these situations. I act like I just don’t know. Why are you asking me about my competition anyway? Don’t fall for this.

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4. They tell you they have to get back to you after they meet with the other partners..

Wasting-Time

You can eliminate this problem IMMEDIATELY by letting your first question be “Do you have budget available now?” If you are not talking to the person who has control of the purse strings you are wasting your time. If they tell you they don’t have their budget ready yet.. kindly tell them to call you when they do. “Why don’t we talk when you’re ready to do a campaign so that I can advise you better?”

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5. They string you along

Minolta DSC
Minolta DSC

If you have an established business and your customers are aware of it, when they call you, they should be ready to do business. Not waste your time. When they say things like, “I will get back to you” chances are they won’t but even if they do (which is rare) don’t wait for the call or pursue it. If they are serious and they have budget they will reach out to you.

Wishing you the best in business

Kevin Ross