Don't Spend More Than 5 Minutes With a Prospect


clockToo many sales professionals spend their time with prospective customers who do not buy. That's a very expensive usage of time. If you're in sales, how much cash would you make if your entire day was spent with individuals who purchased? You'd make a lot and that points me to the question, "why would you spend time with people who don't purchase?"

At first, this question may seem to be ridiculous since your problem is that you don't know ahead of time who will buy and which prospective customers will not. Nonetheless, you are able to decide that in 5 minutes. But you don't and you continue to call and drip on potential customers who are non-buyers. You have a periodic success with these tactics so you keep doing them. But the number of sales you lose by investing time with non-buyers costs you a fortune. I realize that individuals who sell have frequently been educated to devote the majority of their time to difficult prospective customers. They have learned lessons like "the sale doesn't begin until you hear 'no' six times" or "never take no for an answer."

These are ridiculous and time-wasting pieces of advice.  It is my opinion that people who espouse them are dinosaurs of sales and should have become extinct long ago.

Pull the Plug in 5 Minutes

Successful sales pros however act differently. Instead, they invest not more than 5 minutes with a potential customer to ascertain if there is a match between the prospect's desires and the seller's product/service. If there is no match, the professional sales person asks for a referral and moves on. Less successful sellers will grind the prospective client and attempt to convince the prospect why the seller's product/service is so great and why the potential customer ought to want it. Please don't do this, for three reasons:

  1. It's disrespectful. If somebody says they have no interest, value what they say. The reasons that sales persons of all sorts (e.g. vehicle sales people, insurance agents, financial planners) get low scores for trustworthiness is because of their goal to sell their product instead of placing the prospect's goals first. Sure, you might get 10% of these people to ultimately buy, but there is no way these couple of sales can warrant the time and energy committed to the 90% who never buy.
  2. This is not the type of client you desire. If you have to grind them to a close, this is a person who will have buyer's remorse, likely terminate the transaction or just become a headache later. These are the folks who require additional service and are unprofitable for you.
  3. It makes you poor by allocating most of your time to people who don't purchase rather than prospective buyers who DO purchase. It's easy to forget that every minute you invest with a non-buyer is a minute that you did not invest with a buyer. Your time and effort, your most useful resources, have a tremendously high opportunity cost.  Time is often devalued by newer and unproductive sales people.

Why Do You Try and Convince?

How come you try to convince a potential customer when they communicate no interest?

Because you believe that prospective customers are hard to find. This is not correct but most of the economy operates under this false supposition. By omitting the marketing step, as so many businesses do and is crucial for any effective sales program, the sales process becomes distorted and inefficient as explained. In the event you don't want a scarcity of prospects, then you must become a marketer and not just a sales person. Read our blog post on financial services marketing which explains how you can create a large amount of your own leads.



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