More crazy customers!
The name of the game in sales is, "buy-in" and you being interesting and valuable enough so that your customers seek-you-out.
In a perfect world salespeople will much rather spend their valuable time working with in-bound opportunities as opposed to chasing them. But just because someone has made contact with you doesn't necessarily make them the perfect opportunity.
People that seek-you-out are more likely to demonstrate deceptive behaviour regarding your offering. If you have read my new book, The Naked Salesman, or attended one of my sales training programs you would have heard me speak about the damaging effects that "crazy customers" impart on salespeople and businesses.
These are people who pretend to be customers but, in fact, never will be. They dissolve time and distract you from giving attention and affection to your "real" and most valuable customers. "Crazy customers" are commonly created by pushy salespeople and also by customers (deceptively) seeking free information and using it for their own purposes.
When I get an in-bound inquiry, I'm always enthusiastic to qualify the customer's relevance and authenticity. Many salespeople start ringing the cash register as soon as someone calls them, believing by virtue of the customer initiating contact they must be a genuine opportunity. This is not always the case; in fact, there are perils to following this approach.
The internet has been the greatest incubator of "crazy customers" the world has ever seen. Anyone insane or of sound mind, genuinely interested or otherwise-can go online and fire enquiry forms at will. This could be 2am on Monday or 4.30pm on Friday afternoon when they have nothing else better to do. Treat these types of enquiries with suspicion and manoeuvre them accordingly via your sales process. If you dont have a process, best you develop one.
The bottom line is not all enquiries are genuine, so you need an effective qualification process that doesn't alienate potential "genuine" customers. The first place to start is establishing who your customers (really are) this can be achieved by drilling into your (client base and identifying the profile of your most valuable customers i.e. industry, size, internal champions, spend, ongoing revenue, referrals, reputation benefits, etc.
You then know if someone contacts you who fits your profile you can feel reasonably confident you are talking with the right person and you can proceed accordingly. Conversely, if they dont fit, you can then employ a different approach, perhaps faster and less intensive.
Give the "crazies" free, indeed valuable information, but dont tip them. And most certainly dont let them distract you from your "real", most valuable clients as they should be the foundations your business is built on.