Sales – Time Wasters.  Stop Chasing Shadows

Sales – Time Wasters.  Stop Chasing Shadows

Here is the situation, you call a client, they sound interested, they talk a good game, they do lots of nodding, say lots of yes’s, and they go as far as to almost book or buy from you, and then nothing.

You have read all the blogs about offering value and dealing with objections and yet this client agrees to all of what you have to offer and still doesn’t book.

You speak again and it is all positive but alas no sale.

You go to visit and again go over everything checking all your bases, crossing the t’s and dotting the I’s and still nothing.

They are even happy to take your calls too.



The simple answer is you could be dealing with time waster, or as I call them ‘sales shadows’ – a client like this casts a great shadow, full of form that actually looks and acts exactly like a client however they are not.

In sales it is important to face facts, there are people who are happy to just lead you a merry dance, and yet they never book, they are simply wasting your time. The opposite in sales is a sales person who talks a great line, covers the market, lots of meetings but is simply firing blanks, they never close, but that is another article.

How do you deal with them then?

Here are a few tips to help deal with these people.

Qualify Correctly – In many companies there will be a qualifying criteria to doing business with clients, it could based on number of employees, a minimum spend, an annual turnover or even a fully trading website. Whatever it is you have to establish whether the client is qualified or not.  I use a matrix based on previous training experience, the presence of a training budget and number of employees needing training. This helps me to determine whether something is worth the effort or not.


Cut Them out of your Life.  Now this is quite harsh, however there are sales people out there who are really good at sniffing out a shadow, they have an instinct for it, and simply refuse to get involved. They are really good with the client, very respectful and great with the relationship. However they can smell the insincerity and therefore they speak up and will say things like “It would appear that you are not in a position to move forward, I am not going to waste you time further, and will politely step away at this time. I will stay in touch and when the time is right I will be here for you.” I have used this on many occasions and it really works, as clients do not expect sales people to be this assertive and actually choose to walk away. The thing is they come back.


Encourage the Client to Say ‘No’. Clients need to be contacted over and over again, and sales people can mistake this persistence for being a nuisance. Clients need time to make a decision and dealing with a sales person who has the most amazing products might be important to them, but not the most important thing at that time. In short you are lower priority.  Still a priority, just a bit lower. So keep in touch.  I have a fourteen contact limit, once I reach it, using whatever method of contact (mostly phone) I send an email thanking the client for the time and interest, suggesting that maybe things are right at this point, so therefore if they are not in a position to move ahead, are they OK for me to end their enquiry. By doing this you actually give the client permission to say ‘NO’. Funnily enough clients don’t like saying no to someone. You can read a ton about this phenomenon.  It can stimulate a very interesting reaction too; the client can come back, in a bit of panic, and then book.  Influence is a marvelous thing.


Ask the Question. It could be something you do earlier on; it just depends on the client and relationship you have with them. It is quite a direct approach and yet it can give you the answer you needs. If I get resistance, and it goes on, I simply ask, “Why is it that you are not going ahead and booking this? Is there something I have missed?”  Quite often what will come back from the client will not be an excuse, but a reason, and reason are usually based in fact, so listen to what they say, see if you can overcome it and move on. You will be glad you did.


Have Some Self-Respect.  Nothing is more repellent in sales than desperation. It usually occurs because a sales person is only thinking about their targets or commission and perhaps they are close to deadline.  Whatever it is, they are not thinking about the client and what comes across is pure desperation. Clients can smell it a mile off and they hate it as it makes them feel pressured.  Let’s be clear, being hungry for the sale and motivated to do business with the client is not the same as desperation, although there is a fine line.  Have some self-respect, step away from the Shadow; leave them to their darkness and focus on clients who want to work with you or those who are currently working with you.

Sales Shadows will consume huge quantities of time if you let them. Weak sales people will keep the conversations going as this helps to push up their call rates however in the long term, it will only serve to hurt.  Be aware of those who are wasting your time, face facts that they exist, follow my five tips and then one day this might happen.

You are sat at your desk when you happen upon the clients details again, you think, “they will never book, but I should keep in touch”, you call, the client then says that “your timing is perfect, they have no reached a point where they are ready to book” Ta Dah! Out from the shadows steps your fully formed and very ready client.

Thanks for reading, I love having you here, drop me a line at Simon@serialtrainer7.comif I can come into your business and help your teams be the best sales people they can be.


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