How To Qualify Your Prospects
All businesses regardless of size or scale should qualify their prospects to save time and resources, increase productivity, and to have outcomes meet expectations.
When selling a product or service, you should always think of establishing long- term and sustainable relationships with your clients.
Selling to an unqualified prospect could potentially damage the future outlook of your business.
Why You Need To Qualify Your Prospects
Let’s assume you were able to sell a product to a prospect who you didn’t qualify.
You generated income for the company which is always good. If you’re a salesman, every closed transaction brings you a step closer to your quota.
From the outset it looks like a win- win- win situation. You get the sale, the company makes money, and the client finds a solution to his problem.
Or does he?
As it turned out, your product not only failed to provide a solution, it made the problem worse. Instead of taking up the matter directly with your company, he takes it to social media.
He rants about it to his community of 1,500 followers on Facebook and 1,000 followers on Twitter. He takes a picture of your product and is so incensed he even makes a video on how your product failed.
The video and image are posted on YouTube and Instagram.
The posts don’t need to go viral in order to have a negative impact on your business. Because for every like, comment, and share the post receives, your product gets seen in an unfavourable light.
It will trigger a chain of unwanted engagements.
The reality is, as a businessman, you only had good intentions. You wanted to introduce a product that could provide effective solutions to consumers.
You invested time, money, and other resources to develop the best product of its kind in the industry. You did everything right except for one thing.
You ignored the importance of qualifying your prospect.
How To Qualify Your Prospects
Qualifying your prospects entails undertaking procedures that help you identify potential buyers of your products or services.
Qualifying a prospect involves research. Your objective is to find answers to questions that pertain to the sale of your product or service.
- What issues, problems or concerns can my products or services effectively address?
- Who among my list of prospects have these issues, problems, or concerns?
- How should I approach the prospect with my offer?
- Can my product or service help the prospect achieve his/ her business goals?
- Can I foresee a long- term sustainable relationship with this particular prospect?
Once you’ve qualified a prospect as a potential buyer, only then would you know whether it’s worthwhile to invest time and energy to tender a proposal and eventually move in to close a transaction.
Many business owners take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to closing sales. It would be like using a shotgun to hit a single target. You might never hit your target. And if you managed to hit your target, how many bullets did it cost you? One hundred bullets? Two hundred bullets?
What a waste of time and money!
On the other hand, if you qualify a prospect, it would be equivalent to using a rifle with a laser- guided sight to hit the target. You can pinpoint your strike and need only one bullet to do it.
While the analogy may have oversimplified the process, what should remain clear is that qualifying a prospect is the most effective and cost- efficient way to close a sale.
Here are 3 ways to qualify your prospects:
- Create a Buyer’s Profile
A Buyer’s Profile is a general description of who your ideal, right- fit customer is.
It is also referred to as a Buyer’s Persona.
Marketers create a buyer’s profile to help the company identify the consumer who has the greatest potential of buying their product or service.
A profile is a summary of the qualities or traits that comprise this buyer.
Why is creating a buyer’s profile important?
It gives you a deep understanding of what your target market wants; their purchasing behaviours, goals and objectives and key demographics.
By knowing who your ideal buyer is, you could fine- tune your marketing efforts to target their specific needs.
Not only will you know how to create content that will resonate with potential buyers.
A buyer’s profile will also give you clues on how to do follow ups, ideas on what kinds of products to develop, and the most effective ways to institute customer service.
- Subject Prospects to 5- Point Questioning
Before you decide to close in on the sale, you should first subject the prospect to five integral questions.
The answers to these questions will let you know if conditions are in place for your prospect to transition from intent to purchase.
- Can they afford it? You can’t squeeze blood out of a stone. Your efforts may have helped generate a large following of potential buyers, but not every one of them will have the money to buy your product. Identifying those who can afford your prices will separate the wheat from the chaff.
- What is their level of urgency? Part of creating a buyer’s profile includes identifying pain points. If they need a product like yours, how bad do they need it? The higher the level of urgency, the greater the potential for closing the sale. Focus your energies on those who are willing to pay for your product right away.
- Do they subscribe to your USP? This stands for Unique Selling Proposition and it is the factor that differentiates your brand from the competition. Your product or service must always have a key differentiator; one that makes it unique from the rest. Target prospects who recognize your USP and readily subscribes to it.
- Is your prospect the decision- maker? Your prospect may tell you, “Yes, I am interested in your product and believe it will benefit my company.” However, what if the decision has to go through a board? What if the prospect needs the approval of his/ her business partners? Unless your prospect can make the final decision on his/her own, you may end up chasing a golden unicorn.
- How does your product fit into the prospect’s long-term plans? The sale should not end once an exchange of product for cash has been made. You should prioritize prospects who you can build a long-term relationship with. The cost of generating income from existing customers is lower than creating revenue from new customers. Again, this is why having a buyer’s profile is important. It will give you a better understanding of your client’s needs.
- Know Your Competition
One of the most important principles you should always keep in mind when running a business is this: You don’t know everything. If you did, you would be number one in the industry and have no use for this article.
Studying the competition is important because it will give you valuable insights on the industry you are competing in.
What marketing strategies are delivering results for them? Which products in their line are moving fast?
How does your product stack up to theirs? How do their customers feel about their products and service?
The purpose is not to copy your competitors but to find ways to improve your own business model.
If you’re running out of ideas on how to reach your target market, maybe your competitors have a few more tricks up their sleeves.
As a consumer, you know very well that tastes, preferences, and needs vary from person- to- person.
You won’t find value in bread that has gluten if you’re intolerant. It’s pointless to buy the latest smartphone if your area does not have the infrastructure to support its features.
Now, turn the process around and put yourself in the shoes of the business. In the same way that you qualified a product before you bought it, you should likewise qualify a prospect before you sell your product to him/her.
Let’s assume you own the technology for a predictive dialler with the highest percentage of successful contact rate, clearest call recording, and fastest call forwarding feature.
It will not do your company any good if you sell your services to clients who cannot keep up with monthly subscription rates.
It will also not benefit your company if you have clients who have no use for your product’s other features.
Take the time to qualify your prospects in order to find the right- fit buyer of your products or services.
Qualifying your prospect creates a win- win- win situation for all of the stakeholders.
It will save you time, money, resources, and will help build long-term and sustainable relationships with clients in the years ahead.