by Dr Greg Chapman
In too many small businesses, owners work longer hours, often taking home less pay than their employees. They are in fact the last to be paid.
In any business we see them, the timewasters. Of course you can never be sure which enquiry is a waste of your time, and which could be a buried gold nugget. And of course, you don’t want to be rude, because even timewasters may seek to damage your reputation if not handled the right way.
I recently had such a situation, with a surprising result.
This particular enquiry was one of those you look at and think: “Am I wasting my time here?” It was a bit marginal. They had sent some of the right signals, so I offered them an initial free consultation. However, as part of my standard sales process, I asked them some probing questions to see if they were serious, appreciated the value of my time, and be prepared to make a commitment, one way or another at the end of the appointment, rather than say, “I need to think about it”. We all know what that means, and they were insistent they saw that as the only outcome of the meeting.
At that point I gave them some general guidance and politely sent them on their way, and thought little more about it, moving onto more important things. About an hour later, I received this email:
Thank you for your time this morning.
You just showed us how to approach timewasters. We essentially wasted your time,
and you swiftly moved us along.
We need to take your exact approach to time wasters who walk through our door.
Fxxxxx and Pxxxxx
While I didn’t receive business from this couple, do you think that they would still speak positively to others about me, and potentially, when they were ready, come back to me and make a commitment not to waste my time?
It’s essential that you have a fully defined sales pipeline, in which you have already determined how you will handle different outcomes so you are not left floundering about what to say and do next, including, of course, how to handle timewasters.
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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