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  • Jo Evans

How to avoid the dreaded tyre kickers

Updated: Oct 19, 2023



“I hate tyre kickers”. It’s a phrase we hear a lot. It comes from the act of car buying, when a  prospective purchaser, who does not know what he or she is looking for, makes the pointless gesture of kicking the tyres.


No-one likes having their time wasted by folks who have no intention of buying. When you are a start-up or small business wasted time is wasted money.


So, what can you do to avoid tyre kickers, or, even better – turn tyre kickers into customers?


1. Attract the type of customers you need. 


Do you know exactly the kind of customer you want and know exactly where to find them? If you are marketing to the wrong target audience then chances are, they may not be interested in your product or service. Profile your existing customers. Find out what their needs are, how to reach them and what they think of you.


2. Accept that customer relationships need to be developed.


Do you buy something from every shop you visit? No. You browse, you compare, you decide which shop/ brand you like the price or “feel” of. Customer relationships need to be developed. The higher the cost of your product or service the longer the sales cycle will take, as the bigger the decision. What is your customer service like? Are you helpful and friendly? Make sure your marketing literature gives them plenty of  clear information. Keep “wooing” your database. Old leads may well come back later on, or recommend you to a friend.


3. Are you dealing with the decision maker?


Years ago, I worked with a guy who had been cultivating a relationship for months with “Bill” at an exclusive hotel with a view to selling him some extremely high spec treadmills. He finally managed to book an appointment for the sales guy to go out. Turned out that “Bill”, was in fact the guy who cut the lawns and had absolutely no say in the fitness suite buying decisions. Moral of the story: make sure your database is up to date and make sure you ask the right questions!


4. Know your  features and benefits


Why should a customer buy from you? What’s in it for them? Why are you more attractive than your competitors? Be up front about this in your marketing material. Get your message across from the start.


5. Sales and marketing are two different animals. 


Many people think sales and marketing are the same thing. They aren’t. Sales guys drive to their customers’ businesses to sell. Marketing drives businesses that buy TO YOU.

Analyse where your system is falling down. Are you getting lots of enquiries through your website, turning them into appointments and then failing to make the sale? Do you need to look at your face to face sales skills? Or, is your website attracting the wrong type of customer with it’s messaging?


Has your marketing campaign generated lots of telephone enquiries and then you are failing to close the sale on the phone? Invest in some basic sales training. Learn how to negotiate and close deals. See point 3!


6. “I don’t have any money”


Find out if a customer has budget to spend. Can you find a product or service tailored to their budget? Prospects sometimes assume that if you have a service imparting knowledge (like a business consultant, or a lawyer or an accountant) that you will happily give advice for free.  Consider charging a small fee or offering a set time limit of free advice to demonstrate your abilities. Your time is valuable too. Have confidence in your service and knowledge.


6. Don’t get disillusioned.


Not many businesses have a 100% lead to sale conversion rate. Conversion rates vary from industry to industry. A company we worked with used the rule of thumb that one in three of their proposals would result in a sale. By improving their marketing targeting, we increased that to 1 in 2.  This doesn’t, however,  mean the other 50% were “tyre kickers”. Find out the reason prospects didn’t buy from you, stay in touch with them and they may well buy from you further down the line.


If you have any top tips for dealing with tyre kickers, then please leave a comment!

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