5 Best Ways To Qualify Your Leads
You may have a top-notch business idea, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be a lead generation machine. In fact, not every lead you get will be right for your business, no matter how sure a salesperson is about it.
A potential buyer makes a purchase not because he or she needs something, has money to spare, or is in a time crunch. They’ll make a purchase when they’re facing a combination of the factors above.
Sales qualification is a crucial step in every sales process. Why? It saves you your most valuable asset: time. Evaluating whether a prospect is a good fit will save you a lot of time later. In fact, 67% of lost sales occur because sales reps do not properly qualify potential customers before taking them through the full sales process.
During the sales qualification process, efforts will go down the drain if a salesperson focuses all of his or her efforts on check-marking one of the criteria above; they need to ensure that every requirement is met.
In a case such as this, how does one determine whether a sales lead is qualified or not? How do you know whether you’re wasting your time or if you’ll get something out of it?
While the scenario is different for every product out there, a few factors will help you ease into identifying the most obvious red flags. So, here are the five best ways to qualify your leads:
Identify The Business Problem They’re Looking To Fix With Your Product Or Service
There will be some customers that reach out to you not because they need something, but because they paid attention to your marketing efforts. While marketing may get you many leads, Gleanster Research shows that only 25% of marketing-generated leads are usually of a high enough quality to immediately proceed to sales.
In this case, it’s essential to identify why a customer is reaching out to you. Have you received any customer feedback from them about their past and current experience, and what can you do with it to start helping them get their job done?
Remember, businesses usually don’t make drastic changes to their systems and implement new ideas just for the sake of it. If a company currently isn’t in a situation where change is necessary, chances are the prospect isn’t worth it.
Hence, become a master at business communication and devote your efforts into identifying the business pain and, if there isn’t one, consider that sales lead not worth exploring.
Find Out Why They’re Considering A Solution At This Point
If there is a problem, chances are this isn’t the first time the customer has recognized it. If that’s the case, why is it that the customer is choosing to address it now?
It’s highly likely that a particular event prompted this change in behavior, which could either be a market shift, change in the company structure, loss of market leadership, or something else.
Either way, it’s essential to know why the customer is pursuing a solution at this point and why a solution wasn’t implemented before. Perhaps the customer faced issues before that could rear their ugly head again when you’re trying to solve their business pain.
Lastly, you need to see how badly your customer needs a solution.
If a customer seems okay about letting the problem grow, chances are they aren’t serious about taking things further.
Determine The Budget Allocated For The Project
While money isn’t a determining factor of whether a sales lead is qualified or not, it offers valuable insight. If your customer hasn’t yet allocated a budget to the potential solution or there’s a chance they might disagree on your proposed number, your efforts might go to waste.
Hence, settle on a number before you decide the prospect is worth pursuing and ensure that your prospect’s ability to pay and your price are within the same range.
In certain circumstances, it’s possible the customer is already pursuing a solution and is merely looking to make an upgrade. You should know what their current budget is and negotiate with them on spending a little more for a better solution that won’t leave them looking elsewhere.
Figure Out The Decision-Making Process
Every prospect has a few reservations, whether it’s their criteria or their budget, and you need to do your best to ensure you solve any reservations they might have.
By finding out what’s holding them back, you can speed up your sales qualification process. You should ask your prospect about what might help them make the decision and help them resolve any fears or challenges they might have. Even if you have your work cut out for you and are trying to qualify a lot of leads, you need to make each of them feel like they’re the most important.
Where decision-making is concerned, chances are your prospect might not even be the one who makes the final call. Every decision involves 6.8 people on average.
Unless you’re dealing with a small business, the decision-making party will quite likely include a couple of people, which means you need to convince more people that you’re the right vendor or agency to work with.
To ensure you’re building a connection with the right people, you should find out early on who else is part of the decision-making process. You should also find out where your point of contact falls within the process. By understanding the dynamics of the business you’re working with, you can address each personally.
Work Out Any Potential Challenges
Suppose your prospect has positively met the criteria given above, can they still be unqualified? Yes, simply because they won’t be able to implement the solution you’ve offered. Every product or service requires effort from the customer’s end to ensure it’s executed without any hitches.
However, if the customer isn’t willing to go all the way, they’re not going to get the results they expect. The customer needs to invest as much effort as you and their commitment should be evaluated in the beginning to ensure they’re not unsatisfied with your offering.
The sales qualification process requires straightforwardness, both from your end and the customers’. Establishing a strong connection with your sales prospect is crucial and, if you don’t want to lose out on high-quality sales leads, don’t assume you know everything about when they’re ready to take the plunge on your offering.
While some businesses think the maximum number of leads is the solution to their worries, smarter ones know it’s the number of qualified leads that truly matter.
Instead, focus on smart goals and have a fruitful discussion and let them inform when they’re ready to make a decision. By focusing on these five aspects, you’ll know what exactly your prospect is looking for and how you can help them.
Is there anything else that worked during your sales qualification process? Sound off in the comments below!
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