How to tell an active buyer from a tire-kicker

by on June 19, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog
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Earlier this month, I attended a talk by Ken Krogue, president of InsideSales.com. He was speaking at the Sales Association’s National Sales Conference in Denver.

Ken shared some research the company had done regarding its own Web site. And while the research is most applicable to Web marketing, it offers an important insight for salespeople as well.

InsideSales.com tracked the behavior of people who visited their site, looking at who clicked on which buttons and whether they ended up buying or not. It found that those responding to certain types of offers were much more likely to become buyers in the near term.

Here, in no particular order, are 12 items that visitors were invited to click on. See if you can guess which ones produced active buyers:

  • Books
  • Product slicks
  • Pricing
  • Toll-free number
  • E-books
  • Free trial
  • Research studies
  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • Request proposal
  • Demo
  • Seminars

And the envelope please…
Buyers were most likely to click on the following items:

  • Toll-free number
  • Pricing
  • Request proposal
  • Free trial
  • Demo

Tire-kickers gravitated to:

  • Research studies
  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Seminars
  • E-books
  • Books

The difference is obvious when you see the lists sorted out. Buyers are looking to take action. They want to call someone, or pay for something, or try something out. Tire-kickers are looking for information. They’re in learning mode, not doing mode.

It’s easy for a hungry salesperson to confuse the two. “I had that prospect on the phone for twenty minutes! She asked detailed questions! She was really interested!” Maybe she was. But it doesn’t mean she’s ready to pull out her checkbook.

Someone who’s looking to buy in the near term will also ask questions. But the questions will be more along these lines: How much will it cost? When can I get it? What’s the next step?

Now, there’s nothing wrong with tire-kickers, of course. Many of them will eventually turn into buyers. But they require a different follow-up strategy: one that focuses on cultivating them, not closing them. Expect them to buy right away, and you may be disappointed. Push them to buy too soon, and you may turn them off.

The opposite is true as well. If you mistake active buyers for tire-kickers, they may get frustrated. They may think you’re not that interested in their business. Or that you’re giving them the runaround. Or just aren’t on their wavelength.

So listen for the language your buyer uses, and try to find out quickly whether they’re looking to buy or just looking.

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