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Qualifying Sales with Light Questions First

When working on qualifying sales while cold calling, we may want to lightly qualify first as we are just initially trying to determine if it makes sense for everybody to keep investing time talking.   Examples of the types of things to look at when asking light qualifying questions are general questions to identify if things are great, ok, or have room for improvement in the areas that your products have an impact.

Three Categories for Light Qualifying Questions

Here are a few categories of light qualifying questions that can be asked to help identify if it makes sense to keep talking.

Current systems, processes, and providers

It can be good to identify current state details when qualifying sales in terms of current systems, processes, or providers in the area where your products or services fit.  Identifying what the prospect is doing today will provide tremendous information on whether they may be a fit and if it makes sense to talk to them at all.  For example, if the prospect just signed a contract or invested in a system that competes with what you want to talk to them about, it likely would not make sense for you to invest your valuable time in a first conversation with the prospect as they are locked up right now.  On the other extreme, their answer may reveal that they have a tremendous need for change due to using out dated systems or manual process.

Rating on Current State

Rating questions are great light qualifying questions to ask when qualifying sales as we can use them to get the prospect to rate areas of current state on a scale from 1 to 10.  These can help us identify if the things are great, ok, or have room for improvement.  If things are great, it might not be a qualified prospect as there might not be a reason to make any changes.

Current challenges, priorities, and initiatives

Another area that we can try to gather some information while qualifying sales is to try to identify any challenges, priorities, and initiatives.  Understanding what is not working well and what is important to the prospect will be very helpful when first trying to qualify.  For example, if there are challenges and priorities that do not really apply to the areas that you can help, it might no make much sense to continue as you products and services will not be at the top of the prospects list of things to spend money and time on.  On the other hand, if you identify what is not working well and important and that fits well with what you have to offer, then the prospect begins to become more qualified.


Building Light Qualifying Questions

Light qualifying questions are a great tool to use during cold calls to gather some key information and make the cold call more conversation.  With time being limited, only build your cold call script or plan around two to four main questions.  There can be some deeper level questions and discussion for each light qualifying question, but to have more than three or four main questions will create a call flow that has potential to drag on from the prospect’s point of view.

It is also important to make sure your qualifying questions are open-end.  When we ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”, we create an situation where the prospect answers with one word and we do more of the talking.  Simply changing the qualifying questions so that they cannot be answered with one word can help us to gather more information and establish much better conversations.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales training helping sales professionals with qualifying sales.

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This article was published on Saturday 12 November, 2011.
Back to main topic: Qualifying Prospects
Qualifying Business to Ensure Sales Effectiveness
Three Questions to Ask When Qualifying Sales
Questions to Ask When Qualifying Sales
Five Powerful Open Sales Questions
Effectively Qualifying a Prospect
Using Open Ended Sales Questions to Increase Sales
Sales Call Questions that Can Generate Leads
Powerful Questions for Sales People (Part I)
Powerful Questions for Sales People (Part II)
How to Qualify a Prospect

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