Sales 101: Qualifying Leads
"Time is money"
We are all familiar with this age-old business maxim, but it holds especially true in the realm of sales. The art of the sale is turning a lead into a paying client, and there is no bigger waste of a salesperson's time and resources then going after a lead that was dead in the water to begin with. To avoid this, sales teams often implement certain strategies to identify, or qualify, leads in order to see which ones are worth spending the most time trying to close. Today, we are going to cover some of those basic questions you should ask yourself when faced with a lead.
Do They Need Your Product?
A business that finds the most use out of your product/service is going to be the most interested and therefore be more likely to buy. Before picking up the phone, do some research into the companies situation: have they dropped their previous provider recently? Are they actively looking for a new provider? If not, have they recently expressed interest in exploring new options? Finding the answers to those questions can give you a pretty good idea as to the strength of the lead without even picking up the phone. On the other hand, if a potential lead just celebrated a 20 year anniversary working with their current product/provider, you're going to want to skip that one.
Are You Speaking To A Decision Maker?
After you get a representative of the company on the phone, try and establish who can give the sale a green light. This can be challenging depending on what kind of business you are contacting. Small businesses, and mom-and-pop shops, and privately owned mid-sized companies will more then likely have the owner/decision maker close buy. When contacting large corporations with several branches, you will probably have to work your way through a few different managers and representatives. The goal here is to not waste your time selling your product/service to someone who is not in a position to buy.
Are They Able To Buy Now?
Your lead maybe extremely interested in your product/service, but in many cases they will not be in a position to buy right there on the phone. More often then not, they have budgetary concerns and need to wait until funds are available. In this case, ask them if they could offer a reasonably accurate time frame as to when they could be in a position to buy. Obviously, a lead that can guarantee a purchase within the next couple of months is more qualified then one who will maybe buy next year. Either way, it wont hurt to keep tabs on leads
Will They Be Happier With Your Product?
In talking to your prospective client, try to ask questions to gauge how effective the product/service already have in place is. If you are getting the feeling that it would be most beneficial for the prospect to stay with their current provider, don't be afraid to admit it. You not only spend time on a less qualified lead but your prospect will appreciate your honesty, possibly setting you up for a sale should anything change in the future. After all, nothing turns a prospect off more then a hard sell.
Quick Video - More Tips on Qualifying Leads
Resources for Further Research
- 5 Things You NEED to Pre-Qualify a Lead
One of the most overlooked yet essential stages of the sales process is the Pre-Qualification milestone.
- Qualifying a Sales Lead
To qualify a sales lead, you've got to ask the right questions. It doesn't make sense to make your sales pitch if you are speaking with a customer who is not the right fit for your company or who is not a decision maker.
- How to Qualify a Sales Lead
Learning how to properly qualify a sales lead can be the difference between landing a juicy new business deal or wasting lots of energy barking up the wrong tree.
- 5 Steps to Identify Qualified Leads
Not everyone on Earth is a prospect for your product or service. If you're pitching to people who truly don't need or can't buy what you have to sell, you're wasting your time.
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