How to Identify a Buyer

Save time (aka money) by focusing on selling IT services to the right people

We all know time is money, but particularly in the field of IT service, there’s just no getting around the fact that spending time pitching your benefits to “window shoppers” costs you time and chips into your salary.

There’s a pervasive old myth that in the “numbers game” of sales you’ll eventually come out on top if you have enough meetings and calls with prospective clients.

But that math just doesn’t work out when you’re selling IT services, which by nature require more in-depth interaction and transacting than, say, selling a vacuum door-to-door.

Don’t play the numbers game with professional service sales

What I mean is this: Spend 20 seconds at each politely closed door with your Kirby and you’re not losing a lot. Knock on enough doors and eventually, you’ll sell a vacuum that makes the neighborhood walk worth your while.

In the vacuum sales scenario, you want to play the numbers game, but vacuums suck. Ba dum tss.

Selling IT services doesn’t have to suck. But it will if you spend hours going back and forth with a noncommittal client who was never going to be ready to buy your IT services anyway. (Bonus: Here’s a great tool to end fruitless talks fast and respectfully).

If you play the numbers game to sell your professional service you’ll lose valuable time that should go into sealing the deal and serving a client who is equipped and eager to buy.

What if you could know which doors to knock on?

What if there was a way to avoid knocking on dead doors altogether?

There’s gotta be a better way — a way to sift out the buyers from the lookie-loos.

Great news: there are key behaviors you can look for to identify prospective clients who are ready to sign, as well as key behaviors of people who are just (unintentionally) wasting your time.

Whether you’re selling IT services or another valuable professional service, you’ll maximize your sales when you learn, memorize, and live by these key indicators that differentiate buyers from window shoppers.

Tell-tale signs of a buyer

  • They’re senior management. You’re likely talking to a buyer if they’re the VP or higher. If you’re talking to a manager or director, put the organization on a list of standby contacts and prioritize meeting with contacts that have the clout and numbers to close the deal.
  • They have a stated budget. A buyer doesn’t need to get back with you after getting budget approval.
  • They know when they want to initiate services. Hand in hand with having a budget ready, a buyer has a clear timeline. You’re looking for 120 days or fewer.
  • They get the ball rolling. If you’re meeting with a real buyer, they’ll have the three traits above, and they’ll move the process along. What does this look like? Maybe it’s requesting a formal proposal from you, or setting up a meeting between you and other senior management for a demo or briefing, or to discuss their particular IT issues.

If your contact isn’t ticking all four boxes, they lose priority

It feels weird to drop a prospective client down to the standby list. After all, they did call you and they were interested in your services.

But your take-home is tied to buyers who are ready to sign on TODAY, not six months from now. When they’re ready, they’ll have the four traits above, and you’ll smell them a mile away.

Until then, you can passively make them aware of how valuable your services are, and which of their problems you can fix. An email list that links them to your regularly updated blog is a great way to keep you on their radar until they’re ready to buy.

You do the sales, we’ll handle the marketing

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