How to stop a prospect from getting FREE advice

Kick that plate licker to the CURB!

Yes, we said it.

Service providers that are in the B2B sector and quite often vendors, consultants and strategist will engage with a prospect that has demonstrated some interest in their services.

In order for the vendor (I will use this term to identify service providers) to determine if they can help, or are willing to take them on as a client, a discovery process/conversation needs to happen. Right?

This is where the vendor obtains some information on the needs of the prospect, also qualifies them and begins to determine if they can help them or wants to help them. “Your qualifying steps come into play here”.

It is during this process that the vendor needs to be keenly aware of methods that some prospects may use to try to string you along over a period of time to obtain how “you” would provide the service to them and often try to extract minutiae details of the strategy.

The challenge for a vendor is how to determine if this is a “TRUE” prospect who wants info or whether they want to get your plan for free.

The way to weed out these “plate lickers”, that’s a southern term, for people that want a free meal, is to use the “give and get” approach.

Here are some steps:

1. They share what their needs are

2. You share how you can help

3. They share when they would like to start a program, service etc

4. You give them some initial costs (qualifying)

5. They give you what happens next (decision making, internal timelines)

6. You give them a “broad strokes plan” of what your service/program execution will look like (verbal or short bullets)

7. Both of you agree to next steps

This is where they will start to deviate from what you initially agreed too what the next steps were.

If they come back and want alot of details (I will use an online blog marketing strategy example) and have not agreed to anything on pricing, launch dates, decision making etc, you may have a problem.

If they start asking, how many posts will you do, how many people will do it, when and where will you post, how many leads will we get from this effort, etc. They could be extracting info to try to get the plan from you with no intention of engaging with you.

Some excuses they will use are:

We want to fully understand the process

Management wants to see the plan

We would like to share it with our team and get their buy-in and feedback

If they have not given you anything i.e.; commitments, timelines, etc. Have not followed through on what was agreed too. They are getting more from you without giving you anything or agreeing to nothing. “Give and Get”.

Tell them that they have enough information to make decisions and don’t give them the info!

If they walk away, they were generally not a “TRUE” prospect. You saved time and frustration.

Kick those plate lickers to the CURB!