Are Your Prospects Worth Your Time and Energy?

By Selling Power Editors

You’ve assembled your list of sales prospects. Now you must qualify them. The following questions can help you determine if your leads are qualified:

Does the prospect…

  • have a need for the product?
  • have the money to make a purchase?
  • have the authority to purchase?

Prospects may not be consciously aware of their need for a product. A well-planned sales presentation can help your prospect determine his or her needs. If the need is already determined, this will obviously shorten the time you need to close the sale.

Of more importance is the size of the need or more precisely, the size of the potential sale. Not all prospects who have a need for a product are equal. A good prospecting system will determine this factor. Some method of sorting prospects must be employed when the number is too high for contacts to be made in a reasonable period of time.

Is there money available in the prospect’s budget? All too often this matter is not discussed until the sales presentation stage. Whenever possible, you should try to discover financial information. Often salespeople do not think of credit until they attempt to close the sale. Then the credit check kills it.

Does your prospect have the authority to buy? The prospects who have the authority to buy may be either hidden or inaccessible. This is the number one problem in prospecting medium- and large-sized firms. To discover who can actually sign the order may be very time-consuming.

You can develop your own strategies for identifying those with the power to buy. For example, you can paint a picture that puts those blocking access to the buyer, the receptionist or lower-level executives, in the position of losers. That is, suggest that if the person with authority to buy were to find out that you were denied access, they would be in trouble because the firm would have lost a significant benefit.

You can also consider these other factors when qualifying prospects. Consider the level of service demanded by the prospect. Some prospects ask for special services far in excess of what their purchases justify. Keep a close watch on the sales figures. Some clients are barely profitable or even loss producers. You may choose to concentrate only on prospects with high-volume potential.

Qualified prospects are worth their weight in gold!