I heard an interesting exchange today between a sales director and one of their channel partners (dealers). The dealer said they haven't had a pipeline this strong in 5 years (in this "economy"). When the sales director asked why business was so good, the dealer replied "Well, I am only trying to sell to people who want to buy."
What a great concept - selling to people who want to buy.
So how is this dealer finding people who want to buy? He's asking the right question:
"Are you really serious about making a decision, or are you just looking for information right now?"
Then, if they are serious - "What is the time frame and decision process you are going to go through?" and "Who besides yourself is going to be involved in the process?"
If they are just looking for information - "If you are just looking for info, I can point you to my web site or send you something to read/look at." and "Can I add you to my email newsletter list? It will give you more information and when you are serious about making a decision, we can talk in more detail."
And not only is the dealer only selling to people who are buying, he's also protecting the one asset he can truly control: his time. If you are selling, time is the only part of the process you can truly control, and by not spending time with people who are not buying, you can spend more time with those who are. What a great idea!