Price Shoppers and Tire Kickers: What To Do When Tough Customers Like Price Shoppers Call Your Business

It’s every business owner’s dream to turn each interaction with a potential customer into a sale. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case — especially when a tough customer calls in, and your potential customer is a price shopper or a tire kicker.

A price shopper is a customer who contacts your business with the sole intention of finding out how much your services cost compared to your competitors. They’re looking for the best deal. Understandable, yet frustrating for businesses whose services are worth it.

On the other hand, a tire kicker is a person who acts like a shopper but actually just wants to argue about services they have no intention of buying. Apart from wasting your time, these shoppers can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Be ready when you answer the phone with the tactics below in your back pocket. And while you won’t convert them all, you’ll have a bigger chance of converting more of these difficult callers and tough customers into actual customers.

5 Ways To Handle Tire Kickers And Price Shoppers On The Phone

  1. Use Good Conversational Skills

What do you do when a prospective customer calls? You answer the phone cheerfully and put your best foot forward hoping to convert them, right? This shouldn’t change even when you realize that you’re dealing with a price shopper. Ask for their name and use it. Take notes. Ask questions!

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Getting people to like you is one of the Six Principles of Influence, according to Cialdini.

Paraphrase what they say for clarification, prompt them to tell you more about their situation, briefly affirm what they say, and ask specific questions.

  1. Pitch Value Over Price

Any price you give can be considered high if there’s no value attached to it. So instead of giving the price right away, use information that you’ve gathered about their situation to tell them some details about the services you offer. Thus demonstrating the value your service will give them and why it’s the best choice for their unique need.

Everyone wants to know that they’re getting value for their money. Taking time to educate your caller on this before talking numbers gives you the best chance of converting them into a customer. More often than not, the problem with price shoppers is not lack of money. In the end, customers just want to feel confident that what they’re paying for is fair and worthwhile.

Read Also: Three ways to deliver a customer experience that will have them talking about you

  1. Consider Giving a Price Range

Sometimes, price shoppers may not give you an opportunity to sell your value to them. They might offer excuses like calling on behalf of someone else, or even turn down conversation that would help you gather any information. When pressed for price in this way, consider giving a range.

Make sure that the lower end represents the lowest price you can offer for your services. When doing this, hint on your need to get more information as prerequisite to giving more specific pricing.

  1. Don’t Lower Your Standards

Hard as it may be dealing with price shoppers, don’t fall into the temptation of undervaluing your services. This will only make them seem substandard and work against you. Instead, ask about the other prices they’ve received. This can demonstrate more confidence in your business.

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Use a similar approach to navigating customer recovery

Standing your ground might not help to convert that tire kicker or price shopper. However, if you are confident about the value of your product in relation to its price, that same caller may come back willing to pay the price for higher quality services.

  1. Know When to Let Go

When you know you’ve done everything you can possibly do to demonstrate your service’s value and it still doesn’t seem to be working, trust your gut on when to let go.

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Restaurant management is tough enough without wasting time

Tire kickers are more trivial of the two — they will eat up most of your time in arguments, criticism and bargaining.

End the conversation by asking if they’d like to make an appointment! If they’re not interested, request for their email address to forward them relevant information. Remember to follow through with the email — it will improve your customer experience.


It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter price shoppers and tire kickers in your business. The best move is to treat them as you would other promising prospects, and always keep in mind to demonstrate value.

small business tire kickers phone shoppers - Sarah Annese felixSarah Annese is a writer and Content Director at Felix. When she’s not writing, she’s out and about in New York City.

This post is in partnership with Felix, a low-risk advertising solution for small businesses. We do the work to target potential customers searching for your services — those customers call you directly. You only pay for qualified calls.

Raúl Galera

Posted by Raúl Galera

Raúl is ReferralCandy's partner manager.