"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Thursday, January 19, 2012

5 Reasons You Should Kick "Tire-Kickers" to the Curb in 2012!

OR...(How to waste less time in gaining more business)

Prospects. They’re the life line of any thriving business.
Freelancing is no different.
Handled correctly, they can be converted into paying clients and fruitful relationships where mutual needs are met.

In fact, many often become the source of future referrals, as well as the foundation for continued business growth.
But be forewarned: Not all prospects hold promise.

Some unfortunately, are merely “tire kickers” that have no intentions of going the distance.
The more you know about them, the less likely you are to devote valuable time and resources to winning them over and closing the deal. And the more strategic you can become in your marketing and “new business” efforts. Though many of these individuals are lovely people, it’s crucial that you learn to limit your accessibility and interaction.


“Tire-kickers” is an expression coined by used car salesmen to describe customers that have no real plan of making a purchase anytime soon.
Consider them as the equivalent of window shoppers. No matter how skillfully you handle them, you’re never gonna’ add them to your list of satisfied customers.
Either they can’t afford to pay for your services, their expectations are unrealistic, or they are attempting to squeeze you for free information couched in the form of “consultations” that they can implement themselves.

And I should know. Though I have no documented proof as evidence, I’d venture to say that if I could recapture all the wasted hours I’ve spent on these “wild goose chases,”
I could recapture my youth. No doubt, you could too.

Don't get me wrong; I love getting questions from newbies needing a little direction for forging their freelance careers. I also love the occasional contact to bounce an idea or two off of me for input. Bring it!
After all, where would any of us be without the help of other writers and mentors? But tire-kickers? That's a whole 'nother situation.


Though they come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, here are a few commonalities:

1. They have a problem that they need your help to solve. For example, they want to know how to monetize their site, or they may need ongoing assistance in identifying market leads for their articles. And they found your info from a Google search. Sometimes they're individuals, sometimes they're businesses.
2. They have no budget or “ limited funds”.
3. They hit you up by email with a lot of questions, or pose a few hypothetical situations of which they request your valued opinion.
4. They never commit to anything.
5. They have a “me” agenda. The relationship is always one-sided.


1. Time is money. Although answering questions and providing general advice is integral to establishing your expertise and cultivating new business relationships, there really should be a realistic R.O.I., (return on investment). If not, you’ll be operating “in the red” real soon. Remember that efficiency goes a long way in running a profitable business practice.

2. Tire-kickers can be taxing. They put a lot of wear and tear on you as a result of research you may do to answer their questions, or coming up with creative ideas to assist in their marketing efforts. Not to mention, the back and forth emails that are time consuming and often unproductive.

3. They are tough on the ego. Let’s face it: it’s typically “the one that got away” that usually binds us in doubt and endless thought--whether it’s a personal relationship or a professional one. We’re inclined to wrestle with how we could have done things differently. Or why “her” and not me? Too many of these situations leads to low morale and high stress.

4. Keep in mind the Pareto Principle. Its basic premise is that 80% of results will come from 20% of the people. Translation? Learn to work smarter, not harder. Make sure to nurture existing clients and partnerships and continue to keep them satisfied and coming back for more. As they say “ A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

5. Consider that writers need to eat, just like other professionals. It's a harsh reality of life. When lawyers, doctors and therapists give their "expert" advice, they expect to be compensated. Why not professional writers?

Follow these savvy tips for 2012 and you’ll kick yourself less for poor time management decisions that sabotage your business success and keep you in the poor house.

Thoughts? Agree or disagree? Any experience with "tire-kickers" on your end?


  1. Thanks for your post,

    Since in my current (Writing) Business Model I usually don't work as a Freelance Writer, working for all kinds of different clients, I usually also don't really have that much experience with 'tire-kickers'

    I do however sometimes have some people with a 'me' agenda on my site(s), for example People or Businesses writing comments on some of my blogposts that obviously are only intended to sell their own products, Sometimes it's even obvious that it's just some 'Spammy' 'Robot-Message' that isn't ever really related to the blogpost.

    Frequently - for example when it's 'spam' that's still is somewhat related to the Blogpost - I just keep it up there and think of a creative (or funny) approach to use it as a 'Starting Point' to write a Comment back that's about something that's related
    to - my - agenda.

    'That way making an advantage
    from a disadvantage'

  2. Great stuff, Jennifer! I like the term "tire kickers", never heard it called that. Having been self employed with a family business for years, we have seen our share of them. Goodness yes! You really do need to keep your head up and wits about you all the time. Thanks for posting this.

    Happy weekend!

  3. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 21, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    Hi Hp,

    Thanks for your feedback. I like your style of dealing with spammers, though thankfully I don't get many. :-) Have a great week.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 21, 2012 at 5:32 AM

    Thanks for your thoughts on this, Karen. Yep, you really have to be mindful of time spent, if you want to have more money to spend. :-)