Who is the salesperson's worst nightmare? It's not someone who isn't interested, it's not even the diva customer who wants all the bells and whistles for free, it's the person who says "let me get back to you" or as I like to call them "Time Wasters".
The challenge here is not with how to deal with Time Wasters. Most of the time the solution is really simple; put them on a drip campaign and perhaps one day they will express sincere interest. If they don't, then they're just sitting on a mailing list not costing you anything.
The difficulty is that Time Wasters have a tendency to create a false sense of hope for a group of people vulnerable to confirmation bias. The reason I like to call them Time Wasters is because they lull entrepreneurs into thinking that they are interested but are never willing to commit. As a result, founders are led down this horrifically long and sometimes arduous road with zero hope of success.
I'll be the first to admit I've been down that path all too many times myself. Time Wasters have a tendency to catch you like a hypnotist and it's really hard to let go. They'll tell you all of these encouraging things and you'll be given a false glimmer of hope at the end of every conversation. Do not fall for it! The most precious resource you have is time and these people are stealing it from you.
If you are new to sales then remember that the goal of a close is not to get a yes at any cost. The goal of a close is to come to a decision as soon as possible. Obviously you want to do what you can to get people to buy, but the opportunity cost of people stringing you along without ever giving you a definitive "no" is too high to waste your energy.
Never leave any sales conversation without a very clear and actionable idea of next steps and this includes pitching investors. Walking away without that is essentially an open invitation for Time Wasters to do their worst. It's also the best first filter because you will rarely get a clear or actionable answer from a Time Waster. Instead they'll say something like: "Well I have a number of opportunities I'm working on right now", or "I think what you have is really interesting. Let's stay in touch", or "Keep me updated".
Here are a few additional tips on how to identify Time Wasters:
Can they give you a clear and actionable answer to next steps?Do they actually have the resources to be a potential buyer/investor?Have they bought or invested in something like this before?Do they answer questions in a way that makes them sound uninformed?Is the amount of effort they are putting into the buying decision comparable to the asking price?Do they feel the need to consult bureaucrats before making a decision?How long are they asking you to wait before scheduling the next conversation?Do you get the sense they are interacting with you purely because it makes them feel good about themselves? (Just like there are want-repreneurs there also plenty wannabe investors and wannabe early adopters out there)