I’m so glad you called. Yes, I’m the decision maker. Your products and services sound really intriguing. Please tell me more about them. And when you’re done, can you send me some expensive literature?

Hey, thanks for calling back. Yep, I got the literature. I haven’t had a chance to show it to my boss yet. … Yes, I told you I was the decision maker… Of course I’m sure! It’s just that I’ve been busy. I’m basically running the show here. Same time next week? Talk to you then!

Hey, what’s up? You said you’d call and here you are. I admire your punctuality. And your persistence. Yep, I showed that stuff to my boss… Well, I don’t know what she thought. I actually just left it on her chair … What’s that? You’d like to stop by next week? You bet! Will you be bringing donuts?

No doubt you’ve run across folks like this before – friendly, positive, helpful – and an utter waste of your time.

But some wannabe buyers are a lot more convincing. It’s hard to tell whether they really do have the means and will to buy, or are just putting up a good front. After all, actual buyers need to run things by the boss too. They need to see more information. They get busy.

So is there a way to tell the real buyers from the pretend buyers – without wasting too much of your time or buying too many boxes of donuts?

As a matter of fact, there is.

It comes down to a single question that you can – and should – ask in your very first encounter with a prospect: “If we meet your ‘conditions of satisfaction’, what will you do?”

Yes, it’s a little blunt. But it’s supposed to be; remember, you’re trying to weed out wannabe buyers. Used correctly, this question is painless for both sides, easy to ask and efficiently separates serious prospects from pretenders. Best of all, serious customers will appreciate your candor and dedication to moving forward.

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