Going through the sales process with a new lead is a time consuming process. You have a limited amount of time in your business day, so you want to be spending your face-to-face time only with leads having a high probability of making a purchase.
The process of qualifying your sales lead simply means you’re exploring how likely that lead is to buy from you.
Qualifying a lead is something you should always do before a sales presentation. It will increase your close rate and it will save you a ton of wasted time.
Here are 5 simple questions to ask that will help you better qualify your high-end sales lead.
Lead Qualification Question #1: Do They Have A Budget?
It doesn’t matter how much a person actually wants or needs your product or service if they don’t have the money to pay for it, right?
When you go to a car dealership to look for a new car, one of the first things the sales person will do is make sure you have the funding to purchase that car. That often happens even before you step foot in the dealership if you’re planning on financing that car.
If you’re selling a high-end product or service, it’s important to separate the ‘lookie-loos’ from the actual people who have the intention of buying from you.
Sometimes it makes sense just to ask your sales lead outright what their budget is. Other times you can explain the range of prices your services cost and ask them if that’s within their budget.
There’s many different ways to qualify your prospect’s budget, so find an approach that’s comfortable for you and use it every time you’re qualifying a new prospect.
Lead Qualification Question #2: Do They have the Authority to Make the Buying Decision?
Making your sales presentation to someone who doesn’t have the authority to write you a check is pointless. And in sales, time management is essential, so you need to quickly figure out if the person you’re talking to is the key decision maker.
You can save yourself a ton of wasted time by simply asking the question, “Who is responsible for making a purchase decision?” And then deal only with that person.
When asking this question, be careful of answers involving multiple decision-makers such as, “Well, I run the department, but I have to run it by my partner, boss, accounting, etc.”) In my experience, that generally means the person is either a middle manager who doesn’t want to admit they don’t have the power to make a purchasing decision, or they’re simply shield you from their boss. You don’t want to deal with middle managers. You want to deal directly with the decision-maker themselves.
Lead Qualification Question #3: Do They Have A Need For Your Solution?
Every introductory sales course will tell you not to be that person trying to sell ice to an Eskimo, yet that’s exactly what I see novice sales professionals and business owners do on a daily basis. Part of the bad rap that sales people get is because they try to hock their wares to people who have no need for what they’re offering.
As a general rule, remember that people like to buy, but they hate being sold to.
Behind every desire to buy, there’s a need to solve a problem and people buy your products or services to solve that problem.
When I buy a hammer, it’s not because I want a hammer; it’s because I have nails that I need to drive into wood to ultimately repair my garage door. A broken garage door is the problem and fixing it is what I need to do. Buying your hammer allows me to complete the work and solve my problem.
So make sure you’re focusing on solving their problem or filling their need rather than selling a widget.
Lead Qualification Question #4: Do They Have A Time Frame For Making A Purchase?
The more urgent the time frame, the quicker and easier the sale will be.
However, if your sales lead isn’t sure when they’ll make a purchase, you could be spinning your wheels for months without any results simply because you failed to qualify their time frame. By asking them what the time frame for their buying decision is; you can tailor your sales process and your efforts accordingly.
In some cases, you should artificially inject a deadline into the sales presentation so that your sales lead takes action.
Lead Qualification Question #5: Are They Compatible With Your Values?
This step is optional and largely based on how much of an on-going relationship you will have with your customer after the sale has been made.
If you’re in the services industry, this step can be very important however.
A good on-going relationship means your customer is compatible with your core values, business practices, communication style and/or ethics.
If you’re working on a project with a client and they refuse to communicate with you, then that could delay or complicate the project. If your client is abusive, then that’s also something that’s not worth the money.
By this point in the selling process you would have had several meetings with your prospect and you should know them fairly well. So ask yourself, “Is this a person that I would enjoy doing business with in the future?” Let your gut instinct tell you “yes” or “no” on this one.
When you engage a new prospect, always keep this five-step process in your mind and you’ll end up making more money, saving more time and having happier clients.