4 Questions to Qualify Business Leads
No matter the industry, there's one thing that everyone in every sales department wants: more leads. But, the reality of "more leads" isn't as simple as it seems. Getting your hands on all the leads in the world won't matter if none of them have conversion potential.
Successfully closing a deal requires you to determine several variables, such as budget and who is responsible for the final decision. Often, these variables need to be sussed out very quickly, as many people don't give sales reps the time of day unless there is a clear and present need.
Without clear qualifying questions asked up front, dealing with a constant influx of leads does more harm than good. For your sales team, sifting through leads can become an expensive game of whack-a-mole. For you, wasted time equals wasted profits. In today's business climate, where competition is higher than ever, this scattershot approach simply won't do.
Here are four questions that will empower your reps to quickly qualify those who are ready to buy.
1. What is your budget?
This question is the foundation of a successful qualification approach. Why? Because it cuts to the chase in a non-confrontational way, allowing your reps to see if there's a match before anyone's time is wasted. It is important to understand not only the budget dollars available but also when their budget begins/ends. Many times a lead can be unqualified today because of a lack of budget but highly qualified next month when a new budget cycle begins.
Here's an example: You may be dealing with a large, or notably successful company where your instincts tell there's a large budget ripe for spending. But in reality, that large budget is probably allocated for multiple initiatives and the opportunity potential is much smaller than you'd think. Asking for budget information also helps with accurate forecasting, by virtue of the opportunity value being known before it's too late to ask without sounding like a huckster.
Also, knowing budget up front allows you to tailor your services or other offerings much more closely to the prospect's needs, reducing "sticker shock" and other deal-breakers.