The idea of the tyre-kicker - someone who, responding to your small ad in the local paper, comes round to look at the car you're selling without the slightest intention of buying it - is well established in the urban lexicon. A recent, and more benign arrival on the scene is the cheese-muncher - a character who tries all the free samples at a farmers market without any intention of buying.
Both 'time-wasters' are bad for business as they consume your time and add to your costs. But what about those who unintentionally waste your time?
Targetting your marketing messages
The number of unintentional time-wasters you have knocking on your door, phoning you up, or sending you e-mails could reflect the amount of junk mail you send out. Not literally, but if your publicity doesn't accurately describe what products and services you provide, you'll find your time being taken up dealing with people you can't help, rather than people you can.
So, while you're getting your publicity right - to accurately describe your business and targeting it at people who need what you have to offer - you'll have to develop a telephone technique that quickly identifies the caller's needs and, ideally, re-directs them to a more fruitful source.
But beware - if you're too helpful they'll be back again to take up more of your precious time!