Qualifying a prospect is can be a one of the most important steps for a sales person because wasting time with prospects that are not going to purchase can be detrimental. If you can increase the amount of time spent with good prospects and decrease the amount of time spent with bad, you can see an immediate improvement in results.
Here is a two-step qualifying process:
Step 1 – Soft Qualifying
When working with a prospect at early stage of the sales cycle, you want to focus on soft qualifying first. This would be asking questions to primarily identify if it makes sense to keep talking or to meet at all before getting into the more thorough qualifying questions.
The key areas to focus with soft qualifying are outlined below:
Current state: What are the current processes, systems, and vendors in the area that your products or services impact?
Level of satisfaction: How are things going? Good, OK, or could be better?
Organizational details: Is the prospect the right person for us to talk to?
Step 2 – Hard Qualifying
After you determine that it makes sense to continue talking and progress through the sales cycle to a formal meeting, it is time to work on qualifying a prospect. This would be to ask questions that dig at a much deeper level and could be considered hard qualifying.
To measure how qualified the prospect is and how high the probability is that they will purchase, you can ask questions in the following categories:
Need vs. want: What happens if you do nothing?
Funding: Has the budget for this project been approved?
Timing: Is there a date when you need the purchase made by?
Authority: What is the decision making process?