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How to qualify leads: The 4 gateways your team needs in place

Just because someone has showed an interest in your products or services, it doesn’t mean they intend to buy. Leads are a dime a dozen, but which ones are worth the effort?

Many companies try to sell to every lead their sales team receives, which can result in a lot of wasted time and effort and some very frustrated salespeople. They miss out on genuine sales opportunities because they’re chasing the wrong leads.

However, with a little bit of research and asking the right questions up front, you will know if your prospects are a good fit for your offer. This can make all the difference between landing a juicy contract and coming to a dead end – yet again!

Put the following four gateways in place to qualify leads in, or out, as quickly as possible.

1. Decision Maker: you have to be sure you are talking to the right person or people, those who have the authority to sign on your dotted line. Ask your prospects about their decision making process, their decision making criteria and who actually makes the purchasing calls within the company.

If you aren’t initially speaking to the decision maker then do everything in your power to find out who they are and get through to them.

It could be the make or break of your potential sale.

Director's Office a Secretary and a business partner. Vector illustration

2. Investment: hands down, money is a crucial factor in most, if not all buying decisions. If your prospect can’t afford what you’re selling or doesn’t want to spend the budget, you’ll have zero chance of selling to them. There is no point being shy about probing them for information.

Try asking these questions in your own, natural style:

“How much is solving this problem worth to you?”

Remember you are providing value to your client. Don’t be coy when making them aware of this.

“How much are you looking to spend on the solution?”

A safe question that will let you know if your lead has a predetermined budget in mind. If you feel it is too low to achieve the client’s expectations, then explain that to them and demonstrate the value in spending more.

“Does your finance team or CFO need to approve the spend and do they have a budget in mind?”

The answer to this should give you insights into the company’s budget approval process.

At this point in the conversation would be a good time to talk about the ROI of your offering with examples from other clients.

If it becomes clear your prospect doesn’t have the funds, bid them good day.

Value And Price Balance

3. Service Requirement: does your prospect have a real need for your products and services? Customers must have an identifiable problem and be willing to dip into their budget to solve it. Therefore, early on in the selling process ask them about the challenges their business is facing and the problems they need to be solved.

It is a given that these requirements need to align to the services that your company offer, if not, then don’t shoehorn your lead into a box that isn’t right for them. It could come back to bite you later on!

To help you determine the scale of the selling opportunity, you could also ask:

How long have you had this problem?

Gaining an understanding of how long the problem has existed, and ultimately put up with, should give you some clues as to how urgent the need is.

What does the ideal solution look like for you?

If the ideal solution is something that you’re unable to produce, then don’t build up expectations that you can’t fulfil.

What made you decide to solve the problem now?

Understanding the catalyst to enquiring can give you a hook to hang your solution around.

What are you hoping to achieve by solving it?

Will your solution tick these boxes? If your lead reels off six things and you can only achieve one, then stop wasting your time right away.

What does success look like to you?

A visionary answer that aligns to work you’ve completed many times for previous clients will stand you in great stead moving forward.

Products on the Shelves Warehouse

4. Industry: how well does the prospect match your ideal customer profile? If you specialise in helping clients in a particular sector and you’re invited to submit a competitive RFP for a sector you’ve never worked in, it may not be worth pursuing.

Some industries may require you to abide to specific regulations or require specialist resource to be used. This could be problematic and may end up costing the business substantial amounts of money, cutting your margins considerably.

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Qualify Leads to Generate Higher Revenue

The frustrating thing about lead generation is that it brings in different value leads. Some will be sizzling hot and ready to buy, others will need convincing that you have the right solution for their needs and some will just be time-wasters. Asking pertinent questions will help you weed out the less serious prospects, making better use of your sales team’s time.

In summary, when your company has an effective lead qualification filter you will be spending more of your time on what matters most to your business – generating revenue.

If you’re interested in transforming your sales team into lead qualification experts then contact one of our Training Consultant’s today.

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