How to Handle the 'Tyre Kicker' Prospect


How B2B companies deal with prospects who they deem to be ‘tyre kickers’ can reveal a lot about how they view relationship selling.

First up - what is a tyre kicker?‍

Most organisations understand the importance of having a defined set of Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) or Buyer Personas.

A tyre kicker is a sales term for someone who falls outside of these ideal client definitions and is therefore considered a poor fit for your product or service. Normally, they make an inbound enquiry and clog up your team's time by asking lots of detailed questions… with zero intention to buy. Once a tyre kicker has been identified there is a natural temptation to quickly qualify them out and delete them from your pipeline, so you can focus your energy on better fit opportunities.

For the majority of sales teams, this means a polite decline to quote/pitch or breakup call explaining the reasons why you don’t feel you are a good match for their situation. (hint it’s normally 100% budget-related that tyre kickers don’t make the ICP grade).

Some companies do go further and have got specific automated email campaigns that they will put the tyre kicker on.

However, in the main, these will be the normal email updates that they are sending to all their prospective customers who will have a very different set of challenges and aspirations than the tyre kicker is currently facing.

If you are truly looking to demonstrate an excellent customer experience across the organisation, you should build a specific process to manage these enquiries that deliver real value to the enquiring party without it being a burden on your time:

  1. Create downloadable content or FAQs on your website that specifically speaks to these types of early-stage enquiries and points them to resources across the internet that will answer a lot of the questions that they are seeking to ask of your team.
  2. Make personal introductions to specific trade bodies in your region who offer business support that they may find useful but don’t know exist - for example regional Growth Hubs are an ideal source for those at the beginning of their B2B journeys.
  3. Connect with them on LI and follow their progress using LI Sales Navigator if you have it.

Finally, there is a commercial foundation to this advice: I’ve been in several agencies where we have picked up sizeable contracts from a referral from a tyre kicker to a contact in another company who was very much within our ICP, simply based on how we made them feel.

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