Qualifying Prospects, Part 1

When you think about it, being a good salesperson is like being a good journalist – you need to ask good questions.

How else are you going to help your client if you don’t know what types of problems he’s trying to solve. You can call this approach asking “qualified questions” or “needs development questions.” Some refer to it as the “discovery process.” But whatever you call it, the goal is still the same – uncover needs, wants or problems before moving forward with the sales process.

I think the biggest mistake that some sales people make is they do a product dump on a prospect before they have a real understanding of what the prospect actually wants. They go over all the benefits and features of a product, and then ask “Well, what do you think?” After a little hesitation, the prospect will normally reply “I actually don’t need anything that you discussed. Here is what I’m really looking for.”

If you just found that out in the beginning of the process, you would have saved yourself and your prospect a lot of time. Take a deep breath, be patient, and act like a reporter. Ask good open-ended questions, but also try to make it conversational in tone at the same time. You are not a tough investigative reporter trying to uncover a scandal. Think of yourself as being more of a fun entertainment reporter. You know, the kind that ask softball questions and have a nice, enjoyable engaging interview with a celebrity.

You are just one human being asking another human being how you can help him.

Below and in the next few posts, I’m going to share with you how sales experts ask good questions.

Ago Cluytens, sales expert and trainer, makes the case that you only really need to ask three questions in the first meeting with a prospect before moving forward with the sales process.

Here is his video below –

Jane Frankland, Online Marketing & Business Development Expert, says you need to ask five key questions when qualifying a prospect. You don’t have to get all your answers in the first call or meeting, but get a clear sense of whether it’s worth your time to pursue a prospect or not.

Here is her video –