Home » Business » Marketing and Advertising

Are You Making Critical Mistakes Qualifying Your Prospects?

Feb 10, 2008
You created interest with your prospect by making a big promise, and stated a feature to back up your promise.

You gave them a logical and emotional benefit, and backed everything up with evidence.

Finally, you asked their permission to ask questions.

Because you did such a great job up to this point, your prospect says, "If you can do that for me, if you might be able to help me that way, to create those kinds of results, sure, you can ask me some questions."

Now you've got their permission to probe.

Before I get into probing and asking the prospect questions, there is one very important point I want to talk with you about. The point I want to discuss is how to tell the difference between a prospect and a suspect, and how doing so will save you valuable time and unneeded frustration.

So what is the difference between a prospect and a suspect?

A prospect is a potential client who has a need for your product or service, and is willing and able to pay for them, and has the authority to make the buying decision.

On the other hand, a suspect is any one who does not meet any of the qualities of a prospect. A suspect will use up your time asking for more and more information, without ever actually committing or planning on committing to a deal. Suspects will leave you hanging.

The way you separate the suspects from the prospects is in the probing or qualifying phase of the sales process. Before you can sell anything, you must have someone who has a need for your product or service, they must have the means and the desire to purchase whatever it is you are selling, and they must have the authority or ability to make the decision to buy.

These are the three conditions you are looking for when you qualify someone.

It has been my experience that many sales people make three main mistakes when qualifying a potential customer. Making either one of these mistakes will ultimately end with the same result, a waste of the sales person's and the potential clients time, energy, and a lose of credibility with the potential client.

The first mistake many sales people make is they skip the qualifying step all together. Some think they know what their prospect wants and needs without qualifying. Other sales people skip it because they don't know how to qualify. Or maybe they don't feel comfortable taking control of the sales process right from the beginning.

Then they proceed to ramble on about how great their company is, how long they've been in business and all the wonderful things they're going to do for the prospect. Never once do they stop long enough to find out what the prospect is looking for.

The second mistake many sales people make is when qualifying the potential client; all three conditions for a prospect are not met, so they really have a suspect. However, they continue with the presentation and waste their time, energy, and credibility.

Too many salespeople have the belief that regardless of the situation, the suspect can be convinced to buy.

The third mistake made is that they don't probe deep enough to really dig out the emotional reasons why the prospect wants or needs their product or service. The sales person only scratches the surface, and then has a difficult time getting the prospect to sign on the dotted line.

Another reason for a salesperson not qualifying a potential client is they are afraid they'll hear the word "No". It's the most feared word for most sales people. However, the top producers want to get to the "No" as quickly as possible so they can get to a yes that much sooner.

Any one of these mistakes can be critical to the sales process.
About the Author
Jim Klein helps salespeople fine tune the sales process so they can confidently close more sales and create long term relationships. Get free sales training by subscribing to our free newsletter "The Sales Advisor".
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 181
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories