Why it’s essential you qualify new Leads effectively
Within a recent blog, I discussed how important it was to find more leads and more prospects to work with in order to hit your targets. I suggested a few ideas to focus on bringing new business in.
Have you made the time to review your ideal target customer?
Were you able to secure any new referrals or testimonials from existing customers?
Have you committed some time every day last week to prospect?
What was the greatest return on an action you took last week?
Keep this up, and you’ll continue to see new leads and opportunities coming in. Remember, what we prospect now gets us results in 2-3 months time.
While is it important to find new leads, it’s really, REALLY important that you qualify those new leads and opportunities effectively. One of the cardinal sins that I see time and time again, even from established companies, is their investment into a lead which is not the right fit for them or which they haven't qualified properly.
There are four key reasons why it’s important that you qualify new leads when they come in.
ONE – SAVE TIME
Chasing every lead and opportunity is an excellent way to exhaust your valuable time and energy. This comes very naturally to a new business or a new salesperson. We romance ourselves quite easily, thinking of the reward that would come about from converting every one of those opportunities. So, we do our best at hunting them all down.
The reality is however, chasing opportunities that are not right can waste so much time.
Tell me if this sounds familiar –
You took the time to chase a lead who agreed to a meeting, and everything about the meeting was just wrong and the business never converted.
You took the time to chase a lead and eventually figured out that they don’t have the right sort of problem for you to solve, so the business never converted.
You took the time to chase a lead and got a meeting with someone who was meeting for meetings sake, and the business never converted.
Time is the most precious thing we as salespeople have and spending it on leads that have been qualified correctly makes all the difference to getting the reward you want.
TWO – HELPING YOUR SALES MENTAL HEALTH
Working in sales often comes with great highs and some deep lows. As with anything in life, you’ve got to take the negatives with the positives.
It’s our job as sales people to get excited about opportunities, but getting yourself really excited about a lead that’s never going to go anywhere is inviting a low that you didn’t need to attract.
Taking two or three hours to secure a meeting only to find out that you’re meeting with the wrong person, that they don’t actually have the budget, that the issue isn’t that important right now or doesn’t even exist for them, is not only an incredible waste of your time, but a drain on your sales mental health.
The key is to qualify your prospects so that you know you’re meeting with someone who’s the right fit, that has a problem you can solve, who’s able to engage from a budget perspective, and that you’re speaking to the right decision maker or someone who will influence the decision. Qualifying your prospects correctly will allow you to engage in opportunities which will affect your sales pipeline in the relatively short term.
I will concede that there are times where you need to do meetings which have a longer-term view. However, be careful about investing in those meetings until your short term objectives have been reached!
THREE – STICKING WITH WHAT YOU DO
Chasing every opportunity that is not the right fit for you, dilutes your value proposition. Trying to gain business where it isn’t a good fit for you as a company is not good and doesn't enhance your reputation as a salesperson. I should know. I did it for too long in my previous company. I chased every bit of business as it was income but I learned after a few years that it was the wrong type of income.
The best companies can acknowledge who they are, and what are their strengths and weaknesses are. If you’ve qualified a lead and you realise that you are not a fit for them, acknowledge this, tell them (in a nice way) and perhaps refer them on to someone else. This will not only save you time in the long run, but your great practices may encourage a little FOMO and may gain you favour and potential for doing business with them in the future.
The worst you can do is try to pigeon hole a lead into doing business with you, even though you know it’s not what you do. Later down the line, if you do win that business, you’ll end up winning business that is not right for you which will only bring problems but take up even more time and everyone ends up unhappy as a result.
Maintain and build your reputation by sticking with what you do and what you are good at.
FOUR – DEALING WITH REJECTIONS
If you haven’t taken the time to qualify your lead effectively, especially in relation to their budget or the decision-making process, you could be blindsided with objections that you cannot handle later down the line. This will again mean time wasted as you haven’t built a strong foundation for getting this business over the line.
If you qualify effectively by understanding what the prospect wants to achieve, the budget they’ve assigned, who makes the decision and other aspects from the BANT process, you will effectively be able to handle any objections which arise later in the sales process. If you’ve qualified correctly and the objection does arise, you can refer the prospect back to the initial conversation they had with you and say 'what has changed'? Remember objections, as Brian Tracy would say, are just requests for further information. Provide the prospect with this and you should be in a great position to move forward!
Don’t spend time battling huge objections, qualify effectively!
One of the most popular videos on my YouTube channel is a video where I outline how you can qualify your leads by using the BANT process. Take a look at the video and look at the questions you can ask to qualify your leads.
Now that I have your attention about the importance of qualifying, here are 42 Questions to help you do this. Questions are the currency of qualification and when asked in the right way, they can help you in so many ways! Download the question list and then start practising asking questions which can give you a better insight into your prospect and help you qualify leads and win more business!
Download the 42 questions and start working to qualify your leads more effectively and win more business!
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James White is the UK's leading prospect conversion expert. He understands what it takes to convert leads into real business within the modern digital era and what it takes to achieve business success.