Beware of Teases: Customers who say Yes, but mean No

Beware of Teases: Customers who say Yes but mean No


A comment thread with the extremely knowledgeable Tristan Kromer, reminded me of several misleading responses I’ve heard from customers.  At first glance it sounds like they’re saying, “Yeah, I’d pay for that”, but are really just being teases.

Consider the following replies to, “Would you pay for it?”:

  • “Yeah, I’d definitely recommend it to my boss”
  • “I’m probably not your target audience, but I know other people would pay for it”
  • “I don’t write the checks, but I’ll definitely bring it up at the budget meeting”

Good news! We can tell our advisors that we’re going to get discussed at a budget meeting! Wrong. These are responses I’ve heard from customers who like the idea (yeah!), but none of the above have the authority to cut me a check.

Teases are the worst kind of customer. In fact, they’re not our customers at all because they’re not decision makers. We need to talk to the folks with the money before we know the real answer to our question.

Gold Diggers

Now, consider these replies:

  • “I like the pitch. Come back when you have a product.”
  • “Hmm, maybe if it also did _______.”

That’s right…these customers are gold diggers. These customers didn’t find our initial value prop compelling enough, so they want more!

To be clear, this is very valuable feedback, it’s just not positive, valuable feedback. If they don’t find our pitch compelling enough to start talking $ and cents, we’re trying to build something that isn’t solving a pressing concern. Time to incorporate their feedback or hit the drawing board.


Finally, we have the liars:

  • “Yeah, I’d buy it. I haven’t bought any apps before, but I’d definitely buy that one!”
  • “We don’t normally use 3rd party software, but this make a lot of sense.”

These customers want so desperately to give us good news, they delude themselves; if we’re not careful – they’ll do the same to us.

Actions speak louder than words. If they haven’t established a pattern of buying products like ours before, we’ve got a long road to hoe, before we nail this deal.



Beware of customers who sound positive, but stop short of talking about money. These sirens will smash your business model against the rocks of reality.

Let $ in our pockets be our compass.

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