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The five features of a qualified sales lead

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6th Feb 2017
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Let me give you a scenario: your marketing efforts are bringing in 250 leads a day. What do you do with those leads?

Do you have your sales team pick up the phone and call every single one? Does that mean you need to recruit new sales people to handle the load?

If so, then let me explain how you may be wasting a lot of time and money.

The goal of a sales machine is to be a pre-qualifying process. It should ensure that before the sales team picks up the phone, the person on the other end of the line is someone who is already appropriate for buying what you are selling.

In order to do that, for almost every business out there, these are the minimum qualifying conditions you should have at the beginning of your sales process:

1. They understand the value, and will pay for it.

We have all been there at one point or another – a prospect is sitting in front of you and they clearly have the exact problem that you solve. They want your product. They know they need it.

But they don’t want to pay for it.

There will always be people in the world for whom it will always be ‘too expensive’ no matter how much they need and want a product / service. They will rarely end up converting, and if they do it will only be after so much effort that it will likely no longer be valuable for you.

Instead, you must devise a way to focus on those who are willing to part with money in order to gain the value that they need.

How? Create a “trip wire” priced product. That is, price something nominally – maybe shipping costs for your lead magnet – and find out if they are willing to pay a ridiculously small amount for something of real value, and move them up the loyalty ladder. If they are not willing to pay a small amount for something of value, then that’s a good indicator that they are going to be very tough to convince to pay the actual amount that it is worth.

2. They would be served first in your A&E.

In the Accident & Emergency room in a hospital, they do not address people on a first-come first-served basis: they triage people as they come in and treat those who need it the most first.

You should be performing your own triage on your prospects. Who amongst them has the worst problem that you can solve? That person is the one who is most likely to convert – because they need your help the most!

Identify those people who are most hungry for your solution, and reduce the priority of those for whom the problem is not yet of immediate concern.

How? The exact mechanics of this is very dependent on your business and what you offer. The typical solution is to request prospects (in an automated way) to submit further information about their request for your solution so you can better identify their level of need – and that they actually have the problem you are solving!

3. They have the permission to make decisions.

There’s nothing worse in sales than talking through an entire solution with someone only to have them then say that they need to check with someone else before making the decision. The end result of that can often then mean that that person does not explain your solution in as much detail to the next person in the decision chain, and your message gets diluted or lost.

Before you use up any of your time, or your sales team’s time, you should always make sure that the decision could be made in that meeting itself (even if it won’t necessarily be made then).

How? Again, the exact mechanics may differ slightly depending on the business, but usually this would be incorporated into the solution for #2 – have them answer the question “Who needs to be present to make the decisions in your business?” before you ever set up a meeting with them.

When you have identified the decision makers, then make sure you do not book an appointment until you can book a time that all the decision makers can be present.

4. They cannot find your solution anywhere else.

If you try and get your sales team to sell a product or service that is on offer by someone else in exactly the same way, they will complain (and rightly so) about trying to flog a dead horse.

A critical part of a successful business is the “USP” – a unique selling proposition. What this means is that you need to have something about your business that makes you unique to this prospect if they are going to buy into your product / service.

How? This should be inherent in your business – if you do not have a unique feature, then how did you become successful? Something about what you do must appeal – that is your USP. If you are concerned, then conduct some market research – see what your competitors are doing and identify what is different about your own business.

5. You must have access to them, and they must have access to you.

In order for a sales process to happen at all, there must be communication between you and the prospect. Even if they fit every other category, if the person is not able to communicate with you, how do you expect to be able to convert them?

If you have a lead and you do not have their contact details, then no matter what other information you have about them, the lead is junk. You must ensure you have the contact details of your prospects if you intend to start selling to them.

How? This is fundamental: whenever you collect leads, you must ask for contact details. Exactly which contact details does depend on your sales process – do you need their telephone number? Their physical address? Or just their email address? You want to ask for as few details as possible, but sufficient ones so that you can continue your sales process effectively.

These five features form the bedrock of your qualification process, but of course there will be other features that are specific to what you need in order to continue your sales funnel.

Once you assess your sales pipeline and refine your qualification process, you are likely to find that your conversions will start clocking up faster, and your costs per conversions will drop with a streamlined system that your sales team will love!

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