Boy oh boy, did I learn the hard way about time wasters! Look we all get enthusiastic about meeting someone who clearly understands what it is that we are trying to sell them (be it widget or service), and I am sure that we also understand about the building of relationships and how that can also take time, that said I am sure we have also come across time wasters. You know them, they are the people who love to have meetings, they love to set up meetings and you have to juggle all of your appointments to fit them in and then at the last minute, when you are on your way to meeting them (if you’re very lucky), they contact you and cancel. Or if they actually make the meeting, it’s more of a social discussion than anything to do with work and then suddenly they have to dash off somewhere and they schedule another meeting with you and it has to be on a specific date and time that is good for them and you have to move all your appointments to accommodate them and then the same thing happens and so it continues and months down the line you find that they are not authorized to make the decision or as much as they want or need or desire to have what it is that they are selling, they just don’t have the money right now because they have a cash flow problem that they don’t think will sort itself out in the foreseeable future – yes time wasters, I sure have had a few of them!
So how do you tell the difference between the typical time waster and an ideal client?
From what I understand this is the eighty five million dollar question.
On the other side of the spectrum, an ideal client is one that understands exactly what you are wanting to sell (be it widget or service), they understand how whatever it is that you are wanting to sell will benefit them, they have the means to pay for said service or widget and they want it now! They are professional people who are also busy and don’t want their time wasted and have no desire to waste yours either.
Quite frankly, it is extremely difficult to tell the one apart from the other and let’s be honest, how do you know if you are wasting your time or letting the opportunity of a life time slip through your fingers?
Perhaps we should be looking at it in a different way. If you had a huge number of leads, which ones would you go after and which ones would you let go? How do you tell of the lead is a good one or not.
I know that I for one, more often than not leaves it more up to chance. If I get a card, then that for me is a lead, if I can’t get hold of the person (after several tries), well I put it aside for another time. When someone physically gives me a lead, I will try and call – if I cannot get hold of them (after several tries), I advise the person who gave me the lead and I put it aside for another time.
Is that the right way to handle it – I have absolutely no idea. What I do know though, is that while I am wasting time trying to get hold of and leaving countless messages for, people who don’t come back to me (even though I know that they need my assistance), there are others who also need my assistance who do come back to me and those are the people that I will work with in the first instance. If I have time afterwards and I can get hold of the others at some point, then yes – I will assist them, of course I will, but it will be done in my time.
If I find myself going backwards and forwards to the same clients who continually have nothing to say, the I make polite goodbyes and ask them to call me when they need me – I do follow up with them from time to time, but for the most part – I move on.
My time is very precious and quite frankly, I can waste it all by myself, I don’t need help from anyone else.