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Save Time: Qualify that Lead. Certainly you have seen a western on television where the old-timer and the young prospector have the conversation about the gold dust and gold nuggets that the young man has in his possession. The old-timer looks at the young man’s “riches” all of three seconds and assuredly proclaims, “What you got there is fools’ gold.” The young prospector becomes incredulous. The young man claims that he knows gold when he sees it. He plans to go back to town to redeem his gold for cash.
Through experience, the old timer has learned to qualify his prospects. He knows where to look and how determine the worth of his finds.
In modern business, there is not much difference. The experienced salesman can spot a good prospect, while the inexperienced salesman treats every visitor as a prospect, spending valuable time on a lead that is going nowhere.
When you are working with a lead, quickly develop a rapport that enables you to have the kind of conversation that is substantive.
Before you know it, you have information about the lead’s lifestyle, income, profession, intent and objections.
The conversation is not intrusive, but friendly and engaging. Do not be rude by asking questions that are none of your business. While a rude salesman can close a deal, he may not get repeat business.
Unless you are naturally gifted in this area, it will take a while to develop the skills of natural, flowing conversation that unveils the information you require to qualify your prospect.
While I cannot provide a full lesson here on how to qualify prospects, I can offer up a few bullet points to get you on your way.
Your path of discovery should answer the following questions:
1. Is the prospect financially fit or able to purchase what you are selling?
2. Is the prospect the sole decision-maker or is there another person who needs to be involved?
3. Does the prospect have a need or desire for your product? Is he willing to buy now or in the near future?
4. What objections or misgivings might the prospect have about your product or service; and his own judgment and purpose regarding a possible buy?
By having the right conversation you can gain the answers you are seeking, but do not allow the answers alone to determine if you have a true prospect. Continue to use your gut and instinct.
Also, keep in mind that if your prospect has objections, those objections may not be permanent. It is your job as the salesman to help your customer resolve all objections, clearing a path for a positive purchase decision.
However, the reality is that if objections cannot be overcome, you must release yourself from this personal interaction, proclaim the find as fools’ gold and move on to the next prospect. In business time actually does equal money, so the more time you spend on bad lead, the more money you lose.
You can sell a little by luck when you have a good product or service accompanied by a customer base with a need or desire for what you offer. But the difference between luck and skill is infinite. When selling by luck, you are limited. When selling based on skills, such as prospecting, customer engagement, and qualifying leads, your growth potential is without limits.
Become the experienced old-timer rather than the inexperienced upstart mining fools’ gold instead of the genuine article.
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