Posted on 

May 30, 2022

Sales: The Time Thief

Mat Twells
Content writer

The term tire-kicker has often been bandied around in relation to those people who show up in your space, alluding to be interested in something that you are selling, yet quite literally, they have zero intention or interest in what you are trying to put forward. Whether that be due to a lack of knowledge, a lack of genuine interest because they have been tasked with this objective and cannot actually make a decision, or, they are just simply time thieves.

As we do not sell cars and do not have an abundance of old tires strewn around in the office, we will now refer to these people as “Time Thieves”, because that is exactly what they do. They steal your time, professing to be interested but with zero intention at all. We are all for asking questions because if you do not ask questions then how do you gain more knowledge? However, if the quest is purely to stall, to raise objections, and give false hope on a closure, buddy, save it. Time is precious and you want to spend it on people with interest in producing contracts and improving processes.

Of course, for us, the focus is finding ways to improve the sales process as much as you can using Contractbook as a starting point. We want to save time, but one thing that we cannot do is ensure that everyone you talk to is not going to waste your time, that falls on you. Weed them out so you can focus on executing more deals.

So all in all. How do you identify these ... time wasters?

The Time thief

What is the prospect's budget? Trying to decipher whether your potential client has the necessary means to purchase the product is a good step, failing that you are wasting time on someone that has zero intention right off the bat. Of course, your client could be waiting for a deal themselves that will facilitate their purchasing power, determine that, put them on the back burner maybe?

People wasting your time? Experiencing a bottleneck?

What about having the money in the business, but the person you are talking to does not have the needed clout to make a decision. What about value? What value is within what you are selling, what can the client get out of it, the issue here is that a solution may be pricey, but if the value the prospect can get out of a deal like this can actually facilitate making money then it is worth it. Likewise, if the value within does not solve your issues, then is it worth the investment? These are issues that need resolving asap within the process.

Ask away:

  • Explore needs
  • Ask questions
  • What is their budget or range?
  • Is the budget for this purchase?

All of the time, all the time

If you are not moving anywhere fast, they have too much time on their hands. Most buyers who are serious will have a timeline to adhere to, they have a pain or problem that they want fixing, or they have foreseen a problem and are planning ahead.

Some may be shopping around, which is tolerable if it does not drag on too long, this is where you test your mettle. If someone cannot provide a timeline and is withholding information regarding the budget, there is a good chance they're a time thief. The onus is on you to decide that if you have spoken to them three times and the urgency is not there by the second or third, they are wasting time, not only yours but theirs.

It is pretty ironic that the time they are wasting of yours is the very time that you are looking to save them when it comes to negotiating sales deals or communicating. Here you are trying to tell them that your solution is going to save them time, money and improve their output, yet they do not care.

Probe away:

  • Check if they are ready
  • By default, if they are not ready and willing there's a good chance of them being a time thief

They seduce you

They creep up on you like a pandemic, without warning, just... here we are robbing you of your time, oxygen, and general will to live. They are asking question upon question, about every feature, looking at the product, and trying to work out what integrations you have and do not have (3000 plus actually). No hint of purchase here.

Then they start asking about your dog, cat, kids, and spouse. “Play golf?” no... stop! Please! “So where did you go to college?” ... sigh*

These people are maybe only trying to build a rapport. Not really, that comes from you, the seller. When the prospect is delving into your inner circle, they're actually stalling, they are not taking the sale forwards no matter how hard you try.


  • Nothing wrong with friendly talk - assess where it is going.
  • Shut down off-topic subjects and get back on track in a nice way
  • Protect your time, even if you like talking to people

It is not a fit

How many ways can a prospect just not fit with you? You have questions that you would like answered and they just do not comply and their SoMe is all but nonexistent. Sometimes the right person comes along at the wrong time, or the right time is just not met at all.

It is all a little confusing and actually, have they come to you asking something that you could even solve if all of the information was correct anyway? It is impossible to get answers to questions when both parties are confused. This is all time wasted, and eventually, you will both move on... perplexed.


  • Define the correct buyer persona?
  • Does everyone have to fit the stereotype, or is it possible that the right fit was shockingly right under your nose the whole time?
  • Ask the right questions and find out other information.
  • Get your personas, pains, and solutions down and work your magic.

Whine and dine

I am pretty sure that you know where this was going. Freemium serves a purpose does it not? Everyone likes a free trial or some free stuff, I mean offer someone a pen at a seminar and they will take your handoff. Buyers are the same.

They know that you want their money and they will have you jumping through hoops for it, that is their prerogative. Enhance their experience with free trials and demos and get some leverage, but that will not happen if the “buyer” was never interested. Wasting time by securing free content, with no intention of ever moving forward in your process is their calling card.


  • Consultation is a possibility
  • But do not give away consulting time to a time waster.
  • Assess them. Are they responding to the pitch, answering questions, or just flat-out unresponsive?

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