Ensure continued success: make more money, save more time, and have happier clients. To make these happen, gather your leads and qualify them to make sure that you pursue the ones which have best chance of providing a return on investment. You qualify by asking questions to find out the customers’ needs before suggesting your product. You want your suspects to become your prospects.
I’ve put together a list of questions you need to ask in order to qualify new leads.
Do they have a need? Does your prospect need what you’re selling?
Soliciting someone who has no immediate need, desire or interest in what you are offering is a waste of everyone’s time. This is also known as spam. Behind every desire to buy, there is a need. This need is a problem that needs solving. You, as the salesperson are the expert who is positioned to help solve that problem.
As an example, when I buy say, a blender, it is not because I want the blender. It is because I have a need to chop up food, and the blender solves this problem. There are two needs here. The one described, and a hidden underlying need. (We should write a post soon about ‘unearthing underlying needs’.) The underlying need is the tricky one to unearth, and in this case, is my desire to cook nice food.
When selling, it can often be the case that you will identify a need that your prospect did not even know they had!
Can the prospect use what you’re selling? Do they have compatibility? Do they have the authority to purchase?
Many people may need a piece of high tech equipment, but they may not be able to use it because of the people or the structure of the organization.
Think carefully about your client’s infrastructure. If you are providing software, do they have the hardware to run it, or will they need investment here? Do they have the knowledge to maintain your product? If you sell to a client who can’t use your product correctly, they may become a client-services challenge and take up valuable time needlessly.
On the other hand, your contact may not have authority to write you a check. Time management is essential, so focus your communication on key individuals. Middle management can often take sales meetings because they are department heads, but may not have real power to write that check. Simply asking the question “who is responsible for making a purchase decision?” can give you access to the sale.
Can they afford the product? Do they have a specific budget?
You can see in exotic car showrooms, that a lot of people will look, but very few will make a purchase. You will end up getting nowhere with leads who are window-shopping. You can get a very good idea of whether or not they can afford your product or services by simply asking potential clients what their budget is. You can also explain your range of prices, and ask if these fit their budget.
Do they actually want the product? Do they have a time-frame?
Needing and wanting are two different things. They may need the product, but will come up with lots of excuses not to buy (Too expensive, too much hassle, too much additional training). However, if they want the product, they will find ways to ignore these problems. Discovering whether or not they have a time-frame is ideal for seeing how serious they are about a purchase. If they have a definite end date, you have a target, and a very qualified lead.
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