Do you have a hard task identifying potential clients from the time wasters? If YES, here are 7 smart tips on how to qualify sales leads and prospects fast. Qualifying is simply the means of finding out if a lead is actually a prospect. Whilst a prospect is someone who has the potential to become a customer; Leads, in simple terms, are just potential prospects. If you don’t qualify a lead, you may be wasting your time with someone who literally can’t buy from you.

You need to understand that qualifying most times starts out with asking a few basic questions. These questions are designed to identify the necessary qualities that any prospect will have. Those qualities will differ depending on what you’re selling. According to experts, one factor you need to establish early on by qualifying is whether or not you are speaking with a decision-maker.

For instance, if you sell B2B, the first person you speak with at a particular company might not have the authority to buy. It’s very necessary that you note that detail early on so that if you are not speaking with the decision-maker, you can find out who the decision-maker is and get in touch with that person.

Why Qualifying a Lead Fast Benefits You the Most

A lot of salespeople like to qualify further before they spend any more time with the prospect. A deeper level of qualifying might determine how interested the prospect is, how much money he could spend on a purchase and if there are any other impediments such as an existing contract. How deeply you decide to qualify prospects will also differ depending on your preferences.

Indeed qualifying leads and prospects plays a major role in selling. Without a solid prospect list, it will be very hard to establish a lucrative sales territory. You need to understand that locating the right prospect is one of the most important stages of a salesperson’s work. When a salesperson is not agile and vigilant, potential customers might be robbed from them by aggressive competitors or by such routine events as relocation, retirement, death, bankruptcy or turn-over.

Note that in every marketplace, there are sales nuggets to discover. If you are selling a unique product, there is a buyer or buyers out there who would pay the price to own such a product if they only knew about it. Have it in mind that out of every 100 prospects, there are probably ten who are qualified to buy.

It simply means that these ten have the authority and the funds needed to buy. Of those ten, there are probably only four who have the immediate need to buy. The question now is: How do you find those four buyers? How do you sell to them first and faster?

7 Smart Tips on How to Qualify Sales Leads or Prospects Fast

1. Qualifying Sales Leads to Prospects

It is very important to state that not everyone on your radar is a prospect for your product or service. When you’re pitching to people who truly don’t need (or can’t afford) to purchase the product or service you are selling, then you’re wasting your time.

To minimize this threat and become more productive, it’s advisable that you take the time to qualify your leads before launching into your sales presentation. The following steps will help you qualify sales leads to prospects.

2. Get to the Decision Makers

One of the very first things you should be asking yourself is whether or not the person you’re talking to has the authority to buy your product or services. In B2B sales, you may need to seek out a purchasing person, the department head, the office manager, or perhaps the company owner.

While in a B2C sales, a prospect may want to analyze and go through their final decision with a spouse, parent, or significant other. The more information you have, the more empowered you are.

3. Find Out What They Want

Have it in mind that before any sales person can close, the prospect must have demonstrated that he or she has a desire to enjoy the advantages of your product or service. Immediately you’ve given your presentation, qualify the prospect to determine if he/she wants to buy it. Much of the sale is made in the presentation. In some products, especially in real estate, the close is largely determined by how well you present the product to the prospect.

4. Perform a Prospect Inventory

It is very crucial to the success of your sales process to find out what the prospect already owns that’s in the same category as your product (or products) and get as much detailed information as possible. For instance, if you’re selling automobiles, you don’t need to ask if the customer already owns an automobile, rather ask them how long ago they purchased their automobile and how good it serves them. Find out if they have other automobiles or transport means.

5. Measure Their Comfort Level With Their Current Product

When you must have gathered the basic information about their current product, dig deeper to find out what their likes and dislikes are. This information will come in handy when you reach the presentation phase because you’ll already understand their preferences.

For instance, if the prospect is interested in a mobile phone, you would find out the features they mostly use, and the ones they don’t use at all and whether or not they’re happy with the size of their current phone. Other selling points would be the size of the keys (for non-touchscreen phones) and the quality of the reception.

6. Inquire About Timing

You need to understand that some prospects might be interested in your product or service, but may not be able to buy at the present time. Sometimes it comes down to a budget issue, and the timing’s not right; while in some cases, it’s because a contract hasn’t expired or a key person they need consensus from is out of town.

So to determine the circumstances, ask time-sensitive questions like, “How soon would you want to put this in place? If I show you how you can save money and time and improve your situation, would you be ready to make a purchase today?”

7. Always be Honest

Never you cancel out the fact that the prospect already owns a product that works for them, and buying your product wouldn’t be any kind of improvement. In such sales scenario, you shouldn’t try to fast-talk or pressure them into buying from you.

It is much better to confess, “I think your current setup is just fine for you right now.” The prospect will appreciate your honesty and you’ll have a good chance of making the sale at a later date when their situation changes (e.g. the product breaks down or their current provider jacks up their fees).

8. Evaluate financial or business status and develop a grading system

Indeed credit prospects are most preferable to high-risk customers. And stable prospects are better than those in crisis or flux. A company that is merging, downsizing, or shifting its core business, for example, may be inclined to delay purchasing decisions.

Also based on the probability of closing a sale, rate prospects as hot, warm, lukewarm, or cold; or by a letter grade. Concentrate first and foremost on hot prospects, and upgrade or downgrade the others as their circumstances change.

Conclusion

You have to understand the importance of this sales process. Even the moment of closing is always difficult and requires excellent listening skills. There is always a moment of tension. There is always a feeling of stress on the part of the prospect. This is a form of buyer’s remorse, in advance.

Note that anytime a prospect gets to a point where he has to make an important decision, anytime he has to spend money, tension wells up inside of him. He experiences the fear of failure. The tension in the closing moments of the sale is caused by the fear of making a mistake, the fear of buying the wrong thing, the fear of paying too much, the fear of being criticized by other people.

What happens when a person feels this fear? It is very much like having a spear in the stomach. What do they do as a result? They back away. Also every one of us, deep down inside, has a fear of being told “no”, a fear of being rejected. Because of this fear, we very cleverly organize our lives in such a way that we don’t put ourselves in front of people that say “no.” But you have to understand that one of the key factors in successful selling is to be always ready to hear a no and continue.

It’s very important that you understand that a no is not personal. It is not aimed at you as an individual. When a person says no to you, they’re not saying no to you in most cases, they’re saying no to your offering, for a series of reasons, most of which you can do nothing about.

Sales resistance is normal and natural in every sales conversation. At the moment of making a buying decision, this fear, this uneasiness, this tension starts to build up. As a salesperson, your duty is to get through that moment of tension as quickly and as smoothly as possible through effective communication and great listening skills.

That’s what good closing techniques are for. Do not forget that closing techniques are not ways of manipulating other people. They are not techniques to get people to buy things they don’t want, don’t need, can’t use, and can’t afford. Rather they are techniques to help get people past that moment of tension.

A good professional sales person takes the prospect smoothly past the point of closing, making it easy for the prospect to buy. The unprofessional salesperson sits there wishing and hoping, and at the end of the presentation, he says, “Well, what do you think?”

Which is why to be a great sales closer, you must be enthusiastic with exceptional listening skills. Also you must understand and love your product. You must believe in your product. You must have confident expectations, and you must persist.

Ajaero Tony Martins