The old qualification processes were based on intuition. Sales people visited prospects on sheer positive expectation. There are some sales people who still do the same. But as the list of prospects grow it is wise to select prospects and qualify them with due consideration. This saves time and energy. There is no point in giving a full scale demonstration to a lead only to be told at the end that their company’s budget doesn’t cover the cost of the product.
Sales executives should be working only on those prospects that are likely to convert to consumers or clients. The prospects should have the potential and need to become a client. There should be a genuine requirement and scope for buying by the prospect. And there are so many considerations that go in to determining whether a prospect is likely to become a client. A sales man should explore everything related to this aspect to save valuable energy and time. This is possible with the asking of a few meaningful questions: some directed at the prospect and some to be answered by the sales person himself. Sales people should make it a point to probe deeply before qualifying a prospect. The sources could be low rung employees in the purchase department, managers, vendors supplying products, the vice president, and if need be the CEO of the company. This would improve the actual sales to prospects ratio and the over all effectiveness of the sales process.
- Will it Enhance the Lives of the Prospects: We are going here a bit further than the ‘need’ of the lead. When a lead has a need he unquestionably qualifies as a prospect. But at times a lead may not be aware of a requirement and there is no harm in the sales person reminding him of it. So here first the sales person has to question himself whether the product has any usefulness for the lead. He may confirm this with the lead to qualify him as a prospect. For example, a small bank branch is likely to require hi-tech and latest security equipment. Hi-tech security equipment is a necessity for banks that store money in their vaults. A security equipment sales person can consider qualifying such a bank as a prospect, not before getting the answers for a few more questions. leads
- Will their Budget Permit it: The next obvious question is will their budget permit the procurement of the product? In the above example, the bank has a requirement for hi-tech equipment. The sales person should ask the lead how much they allocate for the purchase of security equipment and find out whether it can cover the entire costs including installation and maintenance costs of the equipment.
The questions should be clear cut and the conclusions based on the answers should be amenable to sound reasoning. If an authentic source from the bank says that they had purchased a huge quantity of equipment the last year could either mean they may do so again this year or may not require any equipment at all in the near future. So, more specific questions need to be asked to prepare a solid list of qualified prospects.
About the Author:
Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.
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Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.
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Doug Dvorak, CEO of DMG International, is the Author of the forthcoming book “Build Your Own Brand” (Pelican, 2009)