The phone rings and on the other end is a potential customer willing to purchase a computer from you. They tell you that they want to do some music downloading, DVD burning and some video editing. You are eager to impress and tell them that they would need a DVD burner, a powerful video card and lots of RAM and HDD space for the video editing. You give them a ballpark range of how much such a computer will cost and they say thankyou and tell you that they will get back to you.
You never hear from them again. Why? Because after they picked your brain for the information they needed they went to the Dell website and brought the same computer there for cheaper. You gave too away much information over the phone.
If you are known as the “computer guru” then these types of people will call you frequently. Commonly known as “time wasters”, they will call you; use up your time and never have any intention of purchasing and goods or services from you. If you know what to look for they are easy to spot. You should be keeping an eye out for:
“Should I do this?” questions ““ They intend on doing it themselves, but want confirmation that they wont do anything wrong.
Reluctance to organise a time with you ““ They don’t want to organise a time with you because they don’t intend on seeing you. If you ask “would you like to organise a time this week for us to take a look at it?” and they ignore it and keep asking “should I do this?” type questions, they are definitely a time waster.
These people are a problem but there are ways to counter them and turn them into paying customers. In the conversation with them, try and work in some of the following:
Warn them of the dangers that can happen if the job is not done properly, but don’t tell them how to do it ““ If they say that the inside of their computer needs to be cleaned and they try to pick your brain in how to do it. Tell them that you will be using a powerful compressor; however, you need to brace certain parts in the computer to prevent it being damaged by the compressor while being cleaned. It may only be you sticking a pencil in the fans to stop them spinning up to crazy speeds to protect their brushes, but they don’t know that and see that they better get a professional to do it.
Tell them you have dealt with their problem before and know how to fix it ““ Stop right there and ask to organise a time for a callout, don’t give them any more information. If they ask how you are going to fix their problem (such as removing a virus); tell them that you have special programs to detect and remove them and you are not just going to run a virus scan because they aren’t 100% effective.
You entered this game to run a successful computer business, not a charity. The information you know is sellable, don’t give it away for free. You can let up on these rules if the person who is calling you is known to be a good client and their problem is simple and fixable over the phone. For anyone else, they should be paying for your time.