Qualifying Your Sales Leads

In today’s competitive marketplace, be sure to qualify your sales leads. There are not enough hours in the day to chase bad leads, and thus, wasting your time and energy. It's imperative to qualify each and every lead to ensure you move forward with the prospective customer.

Qualifying a lead can be done multiple of ways. The use of the internet can help you determine if your prospect is even legitimate. A lot of selling is done over the phone, and if you don't know the prospect or know anything about them, it's good to do some background analysis just to confirm basic information. Typing their company name into a search engine can provide you a quick snapshot of their company. Do they have a website? Does it seem to be a one-person shop, or does it look as though they have more than 20 employees? How legitimate are they?

if they pass the online "smell" test, possibly the next step is to give them your test.

Get the prospect talking about their business. It sounds a bit like the obvious, but you must learn how to properly qualify a lead. It can mean the difference between landing that big sale, contract or client, or wasting a lot time and, even worse, a lot of money. It’s imperative to take immediate control of the conversation and ask the right questions. If you do this properly, thoroughly, and with a bit of speed, you’ll be able to determine if your prospect is a solid lead or a dead end.

Have a list of 6-10 basic questions that can help you qualify a prospect quickly. Write down those questions, learn them and listen to the responses. Consider budget, their needs vs their wants, time-frame, their decision-making process.Understand where the prospect is in their company or in their life, and what product is best for them. In other words, don't oversell because it will only kill the sale.

The goal is to say the right thing, at the right time, every single time.

Easier said than done, but it's a good goal. A good tip is to map-out on paper how you think the conversation might go. Think of every response you may get from the prospect, and your answer to each one. You won't get 100% close, but you will bring every one to closure. And for us sales people that's all we really want. We can handle "No". We just don't like chasing.

Put to practice these basic sales habits and you will quickly be able to recognize those sales leads that are worth your time and those that are not. Good luck and keep prospecting.