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How to Handle Tire Kickers


Dealing with prospects who request bids but never buy JULIE STURGEON


“What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to say to a client?” When asked this question, many salespeople report that “I’m sorry” is at the top of the list. But not for one sales rep. For Dennis Kraft, who sells educational products, the words stuck in his throat when he asked a deadbeat pros- pect, “Do you ever intend to buy my product, or do you simply delight in


10 | AUGUST 2015 SELLING POWER © 2015 SELLING POWER. CALL 1-800-752-7355 FOR REPRINT PERMISSION.


watching me jump through paper- work hoops?”


For six years, Kraft tolerated a county-wide school administration’s entreaties for catalogs of his compa- ny’s programs and products, appeals for free promotions, and requests for bogus project bids. Yet the admin- istrator never appreciated his “go- fetch” service enough to buy even one set of teaching aids.


“The first year I figured it was because I was still new to sales,” Kraft recalls about his dealings with the buyer. “The second year I thought she’d gotten used to me and I would crack the ice any day.” Somewhere around the fifth year Kraft gained enough sales confi- dence to say, “We’ve talked about a purchase, but are we truly headed there? If not, this request is wasting


Don’t give tire kickers more value than they’re worth.


RETROROCKET / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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