Operations, Sales & Marketing, V8I2

Stop Trying to Sell People Who Aren’t Ready to Buy

(Photo courtesy of Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash)

“Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not selling a product or service.” — Brian Tracy

I recently had a couple stop by my lot to look at sheds to store pool supplies in. 

From the start, they told me that they were in the process of “looking” and were in no hurry to buy a shed. They did in fact tell me that a friend had recommended me, and they had already done research on me and my company. 

Everything sounded great and we were discussing options. After I nailed down some details of what they wanted, I asked them if they wanted me to go ahead and get their new pool shed ordered. 

The lady quickly said that they were going to mull it over and check out a few more sheds. I then said that I completely understand but then told them that lumber prices were going to increase and that it would benefit them to go ahead and do a deposit to secure the price. She told me that they were going to wait and they both thanked me and left. 

I have to admit that I felt like I did them a disservice. I felt like I came on a little too strong when I really should have just listened and built some rapport, and provided the information that they were looking for. 

Here are a couple of things to remember to help avoid trying to sell prospects that aren’t ready to buy … yet.


I encourage you to not sell but to serve your prospects. I’ve always heard it said that a prospect who buys against their will is of the same opinion still. That’s true! 

It’s a fact that I do my best to earn the business of everyone that I come in contact with, but I also need to understand that some folks are simply gathering information and are not ready to make the purchase. In these situations, I do not want to upset the customer by trying to oversell them or apply too much pressure to the point that they walk away and never buy from me. 

Lyrics from a song written by Kenny Rogers called “The Gambler” said it best with. “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” 

It is absolutely critical to know when to just give the prospect the information they are requesting versus trying to close them out. You can also hinder future referrals when you over-sell prospects that are just not ready to commit, costing your company thousands of dollars. 

Always remember that you can follow up with your prospect at a later date.


Sales reminds me a lot of farming. For example, you do not want to harvest your crops too soon because you stand the chance of losing it all (like trying to convince your prospect otherwise when they aren’t ready to buy). 

Planting seeds to me is giving your prospect all of the information that they are asking for in addition to listening intently to what they have to say. You let the prospect know that you have what they are looking for and this is also a wonderful time to really connect with them by asking more questions such as where they work, how many kids do they have, where do they attend church, etc. 

It can’t be overstated just how important listening to and connecting with your prospect is. Keep in mind that the stronger seed you plant with your prospect, the greater the odds of them returning to do business with you. 

I encourage all of us to nourish our prospects and to carefully harvest our sales opportunities at the right time so we can build a sustainable and credible business for the future.

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April/May 2024