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Posted: October 29, 2012

Curious, serious or a waste of time?

Quickly qualify to increase sales

Liz Wendling

Learning to qualify at the beginning of the sales process is one of the biggest challenges salespeople and business owners face today. Learning how to properly qualify a sales lead can be the difference between closing a sale effortlessly or chasing an opportunity that’s dead before it even starts. 

Some people fall into the habit of believing that everyone at arm’s reach is a potential client. They think that everyone wants and needs what they’re selling.  This is a dangerous mindset because all prospects are not created equal.

Closing sales and growing a business isn’t about selling to everyone; it’s about selling to everyone who is a “qualified” prospect. The responsibility of qualification falls on the shoulders of the salesperson. Maintaining control of the sales conversation and asking the right questions can quickly weed out prospects that are just mildly curious, truly serious or no potential at all. It’s up to you to find out and the sooner you do the better.

Many salespeople do little or no qualifying. Some don’t feel comfortable taking control of the sales process right from the beginning (which is critical in qualifying). Some are reluctant to qualify customers because they don’t want to walk away and move on. Lastly, some don’t bother to qualify because they see everyone as a buyer.

Qualifying is easy if your prospects meet these key factors:

A need - A qualified prospect needs your product now or relatively soon. It’s up to you to ask questions relevant to that need, uncover their pains, problems and issues around fixing that need and find out if they’re serious or curious.  Serious people are ready to fix their problems. Curious people enjoy talking about their problems with no intention of fixing them.

A sufficient budget. A qualified prospect has the money to buy your product or service. Don't waste time pursuing someone who truly can't afford to buy what you sell. If they only have $500 to fix a $5,000 problem, you must walk away. It’s not a fit. Suggest other options but pursing this type of sale wastes your time, money and energy.

The authority to buy. A strong lead and qualified prospect is empowered and prepared to take action. They’re ready to go from just interested in your product or service to invested in your solutions. 

Without all three of these factors a sale is not likely to take place. There will always be people who are interested in what you do and sell. Your job is to qualify the people who will become invested in your solutions.  

Qualifying prospects is critical to sales success. It helps you stay on target and use your time wisely. When you ask great questions to find qualified buyers, you avoid wasting time, energy and money with people who were never going to buy in the first place. You’ll feel more satisfied, because you’ll close more sales from truly qualified and serious prospects. Create your sales process around this concept and you’ll be ahead of the game and the competition.

Liz Wendling is the president of Insight Business Consultants, a nationally recognized business consultant, sales strategist and emotional intelligence coach. Liz is driven by her passion for business and generating results for her clients. Liz understands the challenges that business owners are facing building a business and selling their professional services in today's market.

Liz shows clients how to tap into and use their innate strength, power and confidence to develop highly successful businesses. She teaches them to create effective, dynamic and fluid client conversations that turn interested prospects into invested clients who keep coming back.

Go to: www.lizwendling.com or email Liz@lizwendling.com

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Once again....great article. Thanks for your expertise and reminders. By steve on 2012 10 29
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