Before you spend a lot of time on a prospect, you want to know if they are likely to buy. So there are four simple tests:
- Are they the decision maker? Do they have the power to sign the purchase order? Or are they an underling who has no purchasing power?
- Do they have the budget? Can they afford your product or service?
- Are they looking for what you have? If they need features or capabilities that you don’t have, you’re unlikely to make the sale.
- Are they looking to buy now? If they are just looking but don’t want buy for a year, they won’t help you reach your sales target.
Listen to what the customer is telling you
So how do you find out these facts? In many cases they’ll tell you in their first conversation, as the lead comes in.
“Hello, I’m the finance director of so-and-so plc and I’m looking for a simple CRM system for about ten users. Need to be up and running in three months’ time.” That’s just passed all the tests for Really Simple Systems, apart from the price but as they are a plc that shouldn’t be a problem.
“Hello, I’m an intern at Bob’s Plumbing and I’m just doing some initial research for a CRM system we can run on our tills” patently fails.
Good sales people spend more time listening than talking, and in most cases you’ll only get some of the qualification questions answered unprompted. So when they’ve stopped telling you what they want, you ask the unanswered questions: What’s your job title? Do you have a budget in mind? When would you want the system installed? Any particular requirements that are important?
A good salesperson will develop words and phrases that will make these questions seem unthreatening and natural.
Why does the car salesman always ask you what car you are driving at the moment? Because if you’re driving a Ford he’s not going to offer you a test drive of a top range BMW on his Saturday morning.