How to qualify a lead in a 10-minute phone call

Telephone sales
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A minute-by-minute guide to earning trust and qualifying leads. 

79% of marketing leads never convert into sales, according to MarketingSherpa. So how can you qualify a lead quickly and efficiently in order to avoid wasting their time and yours?

Here's a systematic approach to qualifying leads and earning their trust at the same time – in just a 10-minute call.

Minute 1: Start strong, and position yourself correctly.

This is a qualifying call – so it's important that you set the stage correctly. Position yourself as the one making the decision – you're trying to qualify them, not convince them to buy from you.

Minute 2: How and why did they come to you?

How did they find out about you, and why are they approaching you at this stage.  Context is important – if they've come to you as a referral, you know they've had a bit of priming. If they've only seen a fleeting Facebook ad, you know they may not know a whole lot about what you do.

Minute 3: Get an overview of your prospect.

You want to get a top-level summary of what they do/who they are. The idea here is to find out if they match your target niche.

The danger is that your prospect could end up rambling. Mitigate this by giving them a time limit, and ask them two questions. When you ask two questions, your prospect is likely to want to finish their answers quicker.

Minute 4: Find the bridge they want to cross.

Where is your prospect right now and where do they want to be?

What this also does is bring to the front of their mind their ultimate goals, and puts you in position to explain the bridge that can get them there. You will do this towards the end of the call.

Minute 5: Identify what's in the way.

Help them clarify exactly why it is they're unable to get there. Here you're trying to understand the issues preventing them from getting to their goal. Here you're not only learning about their very specific problems, but you're also able immediately to position yourself as the solution to this problem.

Minute 6: Figure out what they hope to get from you.

You have to know what they're expecting before you can decide if you can help them.

If they're expecting something you are likely to be able to offer, that will make it very easy to pitch to them.

Minute 7: Find out the immediacy.

If the problem isn't immediate, it's going to be a tough sell and they probably aren't going to buy. A qualified lead is someone who needs what you have to offer as a priority.

Minute 8-9: Restate their problems.

Now it’s time to earn their trust and respect. If you've been listening carefully you should now be able to feed back to them exactly what it is they desire, and what it is that's preventing them from getting there.

If you can articulate their problems and desires better than they can, they'll immediately associate the solution with you.

Minute 10: Close the deal, or close the door.

The last minute is for you to close off the conversation. By now you should know whether they are qualified or not.

If they're qualified, you'll want to explain to them what the next step is in your sales funnel.

If you've realised that they're not right for you, then you politely let them know that they're not a good fit. If you know another business that might be able to help them, refer them onwards – you'll earn a lot of goodwill from both parties.

And there you have it, in just 10 minutes you've established whether your lead is likely to convert (and primed them for that) or not.

Shweta Jhajharia is principal coach and founder of The London Coaching Group.

About Shweta Jhajharia

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13th Jun 2018 09:50

Nice article Shweta. I have a question. Have you been in a situation where the potential customer calls you and ask straight away how much you charge? I mean its very difficult for me to answer that question. But I would love to know if you had any similar experience.

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