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Salespeople, Qualify Your Prospect

and prevent abortive sales attempts

Have you had the frustrating experience of going all the way through your sales presentation only to be told, right at the end, 'I have to discuss this with my boss / partner / technician / accountant etc'?

It isn't any more fun to hear 'I can't afford it' either, (although usually there is a way to deal with this by structuring payments appropriately).

The antidote is to 'Qualify' the prospect. What that means is finding out at an early stage whether the person you are talking to has what it takes to become a customer.

What we need to know is, does he or she have the authority to make a purchasing decision without consulting others; have they got the money and what is the strength of interest.

My first sales manager taught me to

'Find out if this is the M.A.N.'
– meaning does he / she have the Money / Authority / Need?

If you don't establish these important points, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Here are some example phrases you can use for checking.

'Mr Prospect, is there anyone else in your organization I should be discussing this with or are you the sole decision-maker?'

Some salespeople are a little uncomfortable with this direct question. You can make it a touch more diplomatic if you prefer – 'Mr Prospect is there anyone else we should bring into this discussion?'

For 'Money' you can ask 'Do you have a budget for this?' But a way that is often better is to say, 'Mr Prospect, you'll want to know what this is going to cost, obviously and I will work that out accurately for you once I have asked some questions and have a better understanding of your requirements.

But to give you some idea, jobs that we have done like this, have ranged in price from $XXXX to $YYYY. How does that strike you?' If you hear, 'That's about what I was expecting', you don't have to worry to much about a price objection when closing.

However, if the prospect appears uncomfortable with the figures you have just mentioned, simply ask what amount they were looking to spend. The point being that it is in no one's interest to sell hard to a person who simply cannot afford what the price of what you offer.

To establish 'Need', you can ask, 'If we can give you what you need and the price is acceptable, when would you want to buy?'

Qualify your prospects, it saves wasted time and improves your closing ratio, which in turn increases your confidence leading to even more sales success.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book.

The Selling for Engineers manual

About the Selling for Engineers Manual


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