An old car dealership term, a “tire kicker” refers to someone who spends a lot of time asking questions, or “kicking the tires,” but never ends up buying. They may keep coming back to you to try to get a lower price or better terms. Or, they may flip flop, never able to make up their mind about what they want or need.

You don’t have to work in car sales to know that tire kickers can be a real drain on your energy. When you spend time with people who aren’t truly a good fit for your product or service, you miss out on pursuing high-quality, revenue-generating leads.

To ensure you don’t chase after deals that will never close, it’s important to learn how to identify tire kickers. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share five sure signs of a tire kicker, according to Kathleen Smith, a marketing and sales consultant for high-growth startups.

1. They have an unreasonably low budget. If someone can’t afford what you’re selling, there’s no point continuing the conversation. It’s not always easy to discern someone’s budget, but the sooner you can find out, the sooner you can tell if the prospect is worth pursuing. Sometimes, your prospect’s company may have the money to spend, but the prospect doesn’t have the authority to make the purchase, notes Smith. While this situation isn’t a disqualifier, you should always get the most accurate gauge on how much the prospect can spend. If you don’t, you may face a difficult or impossible sale.

2. They love to schmooze. Tire kickers don’t care how much of your time they take up—they will want to hear all about your product or service and want to know every feature of your offering. They also want to know about you, your family, your alma mater and everything else, says Smith. While friendly conversation is good, if the prospect doesn’t respond to your attempts to keep the conversation focused, consider it a warning sign that the deal isn’t going anywhere fast.

3. They don’t have a deadline. Tire kickers never have an urgent need or a pressing deadline. Remember that for serious buyers, time is money and projects usually run on a deadline, Smith points out. If someone can’t say when they might be ready to buy, they’re probably not serious about buying anytime soon. Smith recommends checking with the prospective buyer about whether they’re even in a position to buy right now. If not, you could be looking a tire kicker who has put their cart before the proverbial horse.

4. They don’t fit your ideal customer profile. If something about a prospective buyer feels off, trust your gut. Whether their social media profiles are questionable, or they don’t respond to your questions in a way you would expect, chances are the buyer isn’t a good fit. However, Smith notes that a break in the standard buyer profile shouldn’t lead you to walk away. It just means you should ask some extra questions to ensure you can indeed help them.

5. They want free lunch. While everyone likes free things like samples and trials, these free offerings are designed to help you move a buyer thorough the sales process. This won’t happen if the buyer never intends to buy your product or service in the first place, says Smith. If they only want your content, your time or anything else at no cost to them, you may be better off moving on.

You don’t have to humor the tire kickers who come into your life. Instead, be on the lookout for the signs above—and then kick those tire kickers to the curb.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kathleen Smith is a marketing and sales consultant for high-growth startups. She provides strategies, tactical planning and content for startups, SMBs and enterprise companies.