How to Beat the Prospect's 5‑Minute Time Limit

Maybe you’ve finally landed a phone call with your dream client. Then, he informs you that he’s only going to give clockhighresyou five minutes. Should you try to compress your pitch into the prospect’s time frame? Or should you follow the advice of one of these sales veterans?

In a recent post on the Pipedrive blog, three sales veterans discuss how they handle the situation when a prospect tries to squeeze them by limiting their time to five minutes.

One strategy, suggested by Liz Rodriguez at Design House, is to accept the 5‑minute limit and quickly state the general benefits of the product or service you’re offering. Then, following Rodriguez's advice, ask a question that is designed to make the prospect think about how your new product or service can help them.

This approach requires a little advance research. For example, if you’re selling landscaping services, drive by the client site and check out when and how the current service is being delivered. Maybe you can promise to finish the grass cutting and plant maintenance before the prospect opens for business so customers won’t be put off by noisy lawnmowers and grass clippings flying at them when they get out of their car.  The bottom line for this approach is to keep your pitch to 5 minutes as the client requests but leaves them wanting to know more. If possible, secure a promise for another meeting or phone call.

Another strategy is to reject the time limit. Cyndershade, a sales pro with extensive training experience, prefers to let prospects know he understands the value of their time. But he also tries to convince them that he’s prepared to solve a serious problem for the prospect and outlining the solution will take more than 5 minutes. In this case, Cyndershade will not use the 5 minutes to make a pitch. Instead, he discusses the reason he will need another meeting or call – one that will take more than 5 minutes. This strategy is considered a ‘challenger approach.’ Done respectfully and professionally, the challenger approach can deliver a 70% close on winning another appointment or call with a prospect.

Read all of the details on how seasoned pros handle the 5‑minute time limit. Then decide which one would work best for you so you’re prepared the next time a prospect tries to give you an indirect no.


Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.