How to Effectively Qualify Sales Prospects

4,349 views

Published on

One of the easiest traps for us to fall into when sales prospecting is trying to sell to everybody. Or at least trying to sell to everybody that gives us their time.

The reality is that regardless of what you sell, not everybody fits well with what you have to offer. Or they might fit well but it might not be the right time for them to be able to purchase from you. Or you are not talking to the right person in the organization.

When any of these types of situations occur, if you are not aware of that there is not a very good chance of things going anywhere, you could stand to waste you valuable time if you continue to try to sell to the sales prospect.

To help with this, an excellent best practice can be to include some qualifying questions, or prequalifying questions, into your sales pitch. Not only can this help you to assess whether it makes sense for you to invest your valuable time, it can also help to create engaging and productive conversations when you have qualifying questions at the core.

In this training video, we talk about qualifying and how to develop a good list of qualifying questions.

Published in: Business, Education
1 Comment
3 Likes
Statistics
Notes
No Downloads
Views
Total views
4,349
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2,291
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
191
Comments
1
Likes
3
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Qualifying at its most basic level is assessing the prospect in two areas. First, to qualify a prospect begins with determining how well they fit with what you have to offer. This fit refers to how well they match up from a need standpoint or if they can even use what you provide. Qualifying does not stop there as we also need to determine how likely they are to actually make the purchase. They could be a perfect fit, but that does not mean that they are well positioned to do anything. We will teach you exactly how to measure prospects in these two areas, but basically we want to figure out how strong or weak the prospect is in these two areas and the act of trying to figure that out is essentially qualifying. Qualifying can be performed in two ways. Most of your qualifying will be performed by asking good questions while talking to prospects. Although, you can also perform some qualifying by doing some research online. This training focuses on how to qualify when interacting with prospects.
  • Qualifying is maybe one of the most important areas to grasp when trying to improve sales results. This is because the time that you have to work with during the week is limited and as a result it is extremely valuable. There are only 40 to 50 business hours during the week and there is nothing that you can do to increase that. One key to improving your sales results is getting as much out of those hours that you can and one important thing to focus on with that is spending as much of that time with prospects that fit well with you what you have to offer and that have a high probability of purchasing something. And also to decrease time spent or wasted with low quality prospects and qualifying will help with all of this. Another factor is that our control is somewhat limited. We cannot control the prospects that you talk to in terms of making the call you back or making them purchase. But what you can control is what prospects you talk to and spend time with and which ones you don’t. When you are more selective over the prospects that you work with, you will improve your ability to manage deals and your pipeline. In sales, knowledge is power. The more that you know about the prospect, the more powerful you will be. By qualifying, you will gather more information and knowledge and this will help you to uncover pain and generate more leads and better quality leads. Lastly, in sales building good relationships is key. When you qualify prospects, you position yourself to build better relationships with prospects as you will make a better impression when going through the steps of trying to qualify. You will decrease the prospect’s guard as you will present yourself as making sure they are a fit before you sell to them and having their best interest in mind. When on a cold call, asking some qualifying questions can make cold calls more conversational. And all of this will help to build rapport with prospects.
  • There are four characteristics of a qualified prospect. Does the prospect have a true need to purchase what you sell? You may have a prospect that is very interested and excited about what you have to offer, but do they need what you have or do they want what you have? The more they need what you have, the more qualified the prospect. Does the prospect have the authority to make the purchase from a decision making power stand point? If we are a car sales person and taking someone on a test drive, but it is the spouse that is at home that would make the approval of the car purchase, we are not spending time with a qualified prospect. Does the prospect have the ability to make the purchase from a funding or money standpoint? If the prospect loves what you have but does not have any money to spend, the prospect is not completely qualified. Does the prospect have real genuine interest purchasing from you? Just because a prospect is talking with you does not mean that there is serious interest on their side. The prospect really needs medium to strong levels in all of these areas to be truly qualified. A prospect only needs to be weak in one area for their to be a concern and we will look at four different types of prospects that are good in only three of the four key areas as we look at four types of unqualified prospects.
  • One thing that can help you to improve your ability to qualify prospects is to know what questionable or “not so great” prospects look like. To help you to know what those look like, we will look at four types of unqualified suspects. The first that we will break down is the No Need to Purchase Prospect. This prospect has the authority to purchase as they are the key decision maker. They have the ability to purchase by having budget and funding available and approved. They have pure genuine interest in what you have to offer. But the weakness with this prospect comes in the area of having a true need to purchase. They really do not have a need because their current system or process is working really well or there is not any real pain. If there is not a real need, it may be tough to get a meeting or get discussions going. But the real problem with this type of unqualified prospect comes in when you are able to get discussions going and generate interest. This could lead to meetings, demonstrations, and proposals which means valuable time spent by you. And even though the prospect has genuine interest, the deal may stall out at the end of the sales cycle when it is time to pull the trigger due to the lack of a true need that is needed to justify the financial investment.
  • The next unqualified prospect type is a No Authority to Purchase Prospect. This prospect has the need to purchase as they currently have pain from manual processes and outdated systems. They have the ability to purchase by having budget and funding available and approved. And they have pure genuine interest in what you have to offer. But the concern with this prospect is that they do not have the authority to make the purchase. An example of this could be talking with a department manager at a company. The manager may have a decent amount of power and be a people manager. But when it comes to approving purchases and spending money, that may have to go to the director, VP, or maybe C-level. If you have been having great meetings and found pain and built interest, but the person that has the power to say yes has not been involved and maybe does not even know about the current discussions, you may have a lot of trouble when you try to close the deal as the decision maker may not be completely on board or in agreement with what has been discussed. Finding yourself in a situation where you are talking to a No Authority Prospect is not a horrible scenario as it can lead to good things. You just need to be able to identify that they do not have all of the needed power and that they are more of a coach than decision maker and you need to be focused on getting the appropriate people involved in the discussions in order for the lead to be qualified.
  • The next unqualified prospect type is the No Ability to Purchase Prospect. This prospect is good in all areas, they have needs, have genuine interest, you are talking to the right person in the organization, but they are not in a position to be able to make the purchase. This could occur for a couple of reasons. The most obvious reason is that there is no money, funding, or budget available. But another reason that they might not be able to purchase is if they just purchased something in the area where you product fits. In that case, they may actually have money to spend, but in no way could justify turning around and making a purchase again in that one area. Or a scenario similar to that is if they are locked into a contract for a period of time and unable to do anything regardless of money or interest. This is a pretty good thing to identify when assessing a prospect. It is not horrible to continue discussions and to invest time if they do not have available funding as in some situations that can change down the road and you could be positioning yourself for a deal later on. But knowing this will allow you to prioritize the prospect in you pipeline and prevent you from investing too much time. For the prospects that just purchased something or are locked into a long-term agreement, you probably would not want to invest any time but you could make an note to re-engage down the road.
  • The next unqualified prospect type is the No Interest to Purchase Prospect. You may think this prospect is obvious to identify and won’t be that much of a problem. But the key word with this prospect is genuine interest. There are two types of No Interest prospects that can go undetected. The first is that some prospects may seem interested but they are not really serious about doing anything. An everyday example of this would be someone who is not looking to buy a car but goes and tests drives a car on a Saturday afternoon. If the sales person does not ask the right questions, she may assume that the prospect is interested in doing a deal when that is not the case and the level of genuine interest in purchasing is low. This happens in the business world where prospect’s without genuine interest in purchasing have sales people provide presentations, demonstrations, and proposals. Another case where this could occur is where a prospect does have genuine interest in purchasing, just not with you. They have already been talking to another vendor for a long time and contacting you at the last hour just to get another price to make sure they are getting a good deal and that they have done some vendor comparisons. In both of these cases, if these no interest prospects go undetected, the sales person stands to waste valuable time on a prospect that has very low probability of purchasing anything.
  • Hopefully by now you can see how important it is to screen and qualify prospects. Now let’s get into how to effectively do that. We provide you with a 2 step qualifying process. Step 1 is called soft qualifying and it is focused on primarily determining whether it makes sense to meet and keep talking. The main thing that we look at here is, at the most basic level, are there any level of open needs in the area where we have something to offer. We are trying to eliminate those No Need to Purchase prospects as if there is not even a need, let’s not waste each other time. This soft qualifying takes place in the first conversations with the prospect. For example, this level of qualifying takes place on the cold call, or could also be on an inbound call from a prospect, and we softly qualify to identify if it makes sense to continue talking or put a meeting on the calendar. Step 2 is hard qualifying and this is where you dig deeper to identify how the prospect measures up in of the four key areas. The ideal time and place for this is when you are in the first meeting with the prospect.
  • Soft qualifying focuses on two key areas. The current state on the prospect’s side in the area that your products or services impact. Basically, this could involve some of the processes they are using, current systems or tools, maybe some details around people or employees, current vendors they are using, and could possibly include any details around contracts or agreements that are in place. Once you gather some details around what the current state looks like, you will want to try to find out the level of satisfaction and how things are going. Are things great, good, just OK, or could be better? If things are great or good, it might not make sense to talk as the prospect might not have any open needs and might have a low probability to do anything. Or you might uncover that things are just OK or could be better, which will indicate that it does make sense to keep talking. The important thing here is that is that you are asking questions that do a good job of uncovering pain so that you don’t get prospects that just say things are great when they really aren’t. When you are able to get a quick picture of the current state and level of satisfaction, you should have a good idea if it makes sense for you to spend your valuable time talking more or meeting with the prospect.
  • The very first thing that we want to do when soft qualifying is learn more about the prospect’s current state in the areas where our products or services impact. You will want to try to figure out what the systems the prospect is currently using, what are their current processes, do they have any contracts in place with their current vendors, and are their and employee or organizational details that are relevant? You are basically trying to determine if the prospect has needs that you can help with or if they are a No Need prospect. The questions that you ask here will all be fairly dependent on your particular product, but they will basically probe for what is going on and being used. Some examples are: What are you currently using to manage your inventory? When did you all implement that system? Are you locked into a contract with your current provider? The way to assess the information you get back is if the prospect is not doing anything or using anything, they are very qualified in this area If the prospect is in a contract but it is expiring soon, they may be a medium level of qualified If they recently bought something or are locked into a long-term agreement, they prospect is less qualified
  • Once you identify what the prospect is doing, you will want to try to identify what the level of satisfaction and how things are going. Hearing the current systems, vendors, and processes may give us an assumption as to how things are going. But we want to gather the prospect’s opinion and feeling. We basically want to identify if things are great, good, OK or could be better. The answers here will help us to determine if the prospect has needs that we can help with or if the prospect is a No Need prospect. Again, the questions here will vary depending on your situation but they can typically start out asking the prospect how they feel about the current systems, processes, vendors, etc. For example How do you feel about the level of service from your current provider? How do you feel about your ability to manage inventory levels with your current system? Is there any functionality that you need that is not provided by your current system? The way to assess information collected is that if things could be better, the prospect is very qualified in this area If things are OK, they may be a medium level of qualified And if things are good or great, they are less qualified and may begin to be viewed as a No Need Prospect.
  • Once you identify what the prospect is doing, you will want to try to identify what the level of satisfaction and how things are going. Hearing the current systems, vendors, and processes may give us an assumption as to how things are going. But we want to gather the prospect’s opinion and feeling. We basically want to identify if things are great, good, OK or could be better. The answers here will help us to determine if the prospect has needs that we can help with or if the prospect is a No Need prospect. Again, the questions here will vary depending on your situation but they can typically start out asking the prospect how they feel about the current systems, processes, vendors, etc. For example How do you feel about the level of service from your current provider? How do you feel about your ability to manage inventory levels with your current system? Is there any functionality that you need that is not provided by your current system? The way to assess information collected is that if things could be better, the prospect is very qualified in this area If things are OK, they may be a medium level of qualified And if things are good or great, they are less qualified and may begin to be viewed as a No Need Prospect.
  • Once you have soft qualified and have identified that the prospect is enough of a fit to spend time continuing to talk or schedule a meeting, you can then begin to hard qualify. This is where you want to really dig deep to validate that there is a need to purchase, an ability to purchase, an authority to purchase, and an interest to purchase.
  • The soft qualifying will skim the surface in terms of identifying the prospect’s needs. No we want to dig deeper to identify is the prospect’s need a true need or is it more of a want again to try to identify if the prospect is a No Need prospect. Some questions that you can ask here are: What happens if you do not do anything and do not make a purchase or make any changes? What improvements will you see if move forward with this purchase? Is there at date when this purchase needs to be made? What happens if the purchase is not made by that date? What is the time frame that the project needs to work along? The way to assess the information collected is, if there is a noticeable negative impact if there is no purchase, the prospect is very qualified in this area If there is a noticeable positive impact with the purchase, the prospect is a medium level of qualified If the prospect can really keep doing things Ok without purchasing anything, they are less qualified and may be a No Need Prospect
  • You will want to identify if the prospect that you are talking to has the ability to purchase from a budget, money, or funding standpoint when hard qualifying to make sure the are not a No Ability to Purchase Prospect
  • How to Effectively Qualify Sales Prospects

    1. 1. Qualifying Prospects Sales Training Michael Halper
    2. 2. What is Qualifying • Assessing prospects in two areas: 1. How well they fit with what you have to offer 2. How likely they will be to purchase • Performed two ways – Researching the prospect – Asking good questions
    3. 3. Why Qualifying is Critical Time is Limited and Valuable •Only 40 hours in the week •Need to spend time prospects that have a high probability to purchase Control is Limited •You can’t control prospects you talk to •You can control which prospects you talk to •Improves deal and pipeline management Knowledge is Power •Uncovers pain •Produces better leads Relationships are Key •Makes a better impression •Decreases prospect’s guard •Makes sales activities more conversational •Builds rapport
    4. 4. Qualified Prospect vs. Unqualified Prospect Qualified Prospect Need to Purchase Authority to Purchase Ability to Purchase Intent to Purchase Unqualified Prospect No Need to Purchase No Authority to Purchase No Ability to Purchase No Intent to Purchase Needs to be medium to strong in all Can have any of the following
    5. 5. Unqualified Prospects Types No Need to Purchase •Authority to purchase – Contact is key decision maker •Ability to purchase – Budget approved and allocated •Intent to purchase – Genuine interest •Need to purchase – Current system/process working great
    6. 6. Unqualified Prospects Types No Authority to Purchase •Need to purchase – Pain, manual processes, outdated systems •Ability to purchase – Budget approved and allocated •Intent to purchase – Genuine interest •Authority to purchase – Contact is low in the organization
    7. 7. Unqualified Prospects Types No Ability to Purchase •Need to purchase – Pain, manual processes, outdated systems •Intent to purchase – Genuine interest •Authority to purchase – Contact is key decision maker •Ability to purchase – Business has no funding available for a purchase – Business just purchased something – Business locked into a long-term agreement
    8. 8. Unqualified Prospects Types No Intent to Purchase •Need to purchase – Pain, manual processes, outdated systems •Authority to purchase – Contact is key decision maker •Ability to purchase – Budget approved and allocated •Intent to purchase – Not seriously shopping – Favorable toward other vendors
    9. 9. 2 Step Qualifying Process Step 1 – Soft Qualifying •To make sure it makes sense to meet and keep talking •Takes place in first contact Step 2 – Hard Qualifying •Identify if you can consider the prospect and lead are real •Takes place in first meeting
    10. 10. Soft Qualifying Focus on two key areas 1.Current state – what the prospect is doing in the area that you help – Processes, systems – People – Vendors – Contracts 1.Level of satisfaction – how are things going – Great – Good – OK – Could be better 1.Organizational details – Are you talking to the right person
    11. 11. Soft Qualifying Current State •Goal: – To identify what the prospect is doing in the area where your products impact – What are the current systems, processes, vendor agreements, employee details, etc.? •Example Questions: – What are you currently using to manage your inventory? – When did you all implement that system? – Are you locked into a contract with your current provider? •Assessing the prospect: – Strong: The prospect is not doing or using anything – Medium: The prospect’s current contract is expiring soon – Weak: The prospect recently bought something – Weak: The prospect is locked into a long-term contract
    12. 12. Soft Qualifying Level of Satisfaction •Goal: – To identify how things are going in the area where your products impact – Are things great, good, OK, or could be better? •Example Questions: – How do you feel about the level of service from your current provider? – How do you feel about your ability to manage inventory levels with your current system? – Is there any functionality that you need that is not provided by your current system? •Assessing the prospect: – Strong: Things could be better – Medium: Things are OK – Weak: Things are great or good
    13. 13. Soft Qualifying Organizational Details •Goal: – To identify if the prospect is in the right area of the organization •Example Questions: – Are you involved in the management of the supply chain? – Is this an area that falls under your responsibility? – Is this an area that impacts you at all? •Assessing the prospect: – Strong: The prospect is the key person that oversees the area that your product impacts – Medium: The prospect is in the area that your product impacts but at a lower level – Weak: The prospect has nothing to do with the area that your product impacts
    14. 14. Hard Qualifying Focus on four key areas 1.Need to Purchase– how bad does the prospect need to make the purchase 2.Ability to Purchase – how accessible is the money 1.Authority to Purchase – how much purchasing power does the prospect have 2.Intent to Purchase– how serious is the prospect
    15. 15. Hard Qualifying Need to Purchase •Goal: – To identify whether the prospect truly needs what you are selling or if it is more of a want •Example Questions: – What happens if you do not do anything and do not make a purchase or make any changes? – What improvements will you see if move forward with this purchase? – Is there at date when this purchase needs to be made? – What happens if the purchase is not made by that date? – What is the time frame that the project needs to work along? •Assessing the prospect: – Strong: Noticeable negative impact if there is no purchase – Strong: Prospect needs to purchase something by a certain date – Medium: Noticeable positive impact with purchase – Weak: Can keep doing OK without a purchase
    16. 16. Hard Qualifying Authority to Purchase •Goal: – To identify how much purchasing power the prospect has •Example Questions: – What is the decision making process? – What parties will be involved in making the decision? – What functional areas (departments) will be impacted by the purchase? – Who is the ultimate decision maker? – Who is the person that will need to sign the agreement/contract? •Assessing the prospect: – Strong: The prospect is the only person needed to approve the purchase – Medium: Prospect makes the decision but has to get approval – Weak: Prospect does not make final decision
    17. 17. Hard Qualifying Ability to Purchase •Goal: – To identify whether the prospect is able to make the purchase from a budget/money standpoint •Example Questions: – Is there a budget approved for this project? – What is the budget range that the project needs to fit in? – Have the funds been allocated to this purchase? – What budget (department) will this purchase be made under? – Are there other purchases that this funding may end up being used for? – How does the project fit with other initiatives from a priority standpoint? •Assessing the prospect: – Strong: Funds are available, approved, and allocated – Medium: Funds are available but will need to be approved – Weak: Funds are not available
    18. 18. Hard Qualifying Intent to Purchase •Goal: – To identify how much genuine intent to purchase that the prospect has •Example Questions: – Why did you take time out of your schedule to meet with us? Why did you contact us? – What other options are you considering? – How far along are you with talking with them? – How do you feel about their solution? – What do you like about their solution? – What do you not like about their solution? – How does their solution compare with what we have to offer? – Is there a reason why you would choose us? – If you had to make a decision today, which way would you lean? •Assessing the prospect: – Strong: The prospect is serious about making a purchase – Strong: The prospect is only talking with you – Medium: The prospect is talking to other vendors but is favorable to your company – Weak: The prospect sees all of the options as equal or leaning toward other options – Weak: The prospect does not have definitive plans to purchase anything
    19. 19. Messaging Workflow Product Value Pain Qualify Objections
    20. 20. SalesScripter www.salesscripter.com What do you sell? ___________ How does it help? ___________ What problems do you fix? ___________ What questions should you ask? ___________ 1. Asks all the key questions 2. Maps answers to document library
    21. 21. If You Want More Help • The Cold Calling Equation – Problem Solved – Available on Amazon - $15.95 • Web-based training program – Week 1: Ideal Sales Process and Communicating Value – Week 2: Finding Prospect Pain – Week 3: Ideal Prospect and Qualifying – Week 4: Dealing with Objections and Getting Around the Gatekeeper – Week 5: Building Rapport, Interest, and Credibility – Week 6: Generating Leads and SalesScripter Overview – Week 7: Improving the Connect Rate – Week 8: Inner Game – Week 9: Managing Prospecting Meetings and Managing Sales Cycles – Week 10: Improving the Close Rate and Disqualifying • SalesScripter – www.salesscripter.com – Walk-through services available • SalesScripter Demonstration – Every Thursday
    22. 22. www.salesscripter.com | info@salesscripter.com | 713-802-2026

    ×