Stop Wasting Sales Time & Qualify Prospects with 2 Questions

by Chris Arlen on December 15, 2011

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Qualify Prospects in 2 QuestionsHow often do you waste time on a prospect that is really a suspect? That’s time lost with as much chance for a sale as a snowball on the sun.

You can’t chase every suspect you come across, so screen them. Qualify suspects into prospects.

The problem is you don’t get enough info to qualify them at your first sighting. You have to pick up bits of info along the way, over time.

Here’s a quick and easy way to quickly cut through the suspects to the prospects.

Answer these 2 questions

Always keep these two questions in your mind and you’ll quickly and easily see who’s worthy of your sales time, and who’s not. And it’s great to be selective as a seller, gives you more self-respect.

What the heck, cut to the chase. Slightly rephrase these questions and ask your suspects directly. You never know what will happen, and it’s fun to turn the tables about who’s courting who.

Question #1 –> Can they afford me?

It’s “Can they afford me?”, not “my company”. This is personal, even though you’re working for a company. It’s your investment of sales time that needs immediate and definite direction.

This question defines a suspect’s sales’ attractiveness – “Is this a good fit with what I want as a seller?”

Also, the question should lead to other questions you’ll be pondering, such as:

* Do they buy what I’m selling? (i.e. Do they need what we offer?)

* Do they value what I’m selling? (i.e. Do they know how important our service is to their business?)

* Are they ready to buy? (i.e. Are they willing to invest time in a supplier relationship?)

* Are they aware of market pricing & scope? (i.e. Are their service expectations in line with their pricing expectations?)

Question #2 –> Will we enjoy working together?

This gets you thinking up front about after the sale. About the alignment and desirability of a long-term relationship with this particular customer, not an anonymous number in a sales funnel.

With this question in mind, you’ll start looking at suspects for signs of:

* How likely are they to make unreasonable demands? (i.e. Are they reasonable, knowledgeable about your service?)

* Will they pay as promised? (i.e. Will they make getting paid difficult?)

* How realistic are they about the variability of service? (i.e. Do they accept that service is never perfect? That hiccups occur?)

* How willing are they to work with you? (i.e. Are they flexible when it comes to finding win-win solutions?)

There is Always the Long Way

The long way is your company’s Prospect Qualifying Matrix.

It’s the one that includes multiple factors. It weights and rates individual prospects’ attractiveness, then calculates an index for how hard you’re supposed to go after that prospect.

Don’t laugh, I’ve developed one and it’s cool. But during your day-to-day sprint do you have time to fill it out?

I suspect not. Which is the reason for memorizing these two simple questions when hunting for new business:

Q1: Can they afford me?

Q2: Will we enjoy working together?

How Do You Qualify Prospects on the Fly?

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