If we could absolutely know right away who was destined to buy from us, and distinguish these folks from non-buyers, selling would be a lot easier; don’t you agree?
Of course, we can’t be certain. There are always surprises, like prospects that seem to return from the dead and suddenly buy without any fuss, and become profitable customers.
QUALIFYING prospects is the process of determining whether people have the means, the motivation, and the clout to buy.
Unfortunately, when qualifying is done, it usually sounds brusque.
The car seller comes to mind, that upon first sighting a shopper abruptly and condescendingly asks, “So, are you going to drive out of here in a new car, today?”
One of best qualifying questions starts with the word, “When” as in “When do you think you’re going to need a new car?”
Recently, I received a consulting inquiry and one of the first questions I heard was, “How soon can we get underway?”
That’s certainly a MOTIVATED buyer. Whether he has a senior enough rank to approve a contract, as well as the funding, remains to be determined.
If you turn this around and ask, “When would you like to get underway?” you’ll probably evoke information regarding MEANS and CLOUT.
If you don’t get these bits of information with due speed, you can certainly ask: “Do you have a budget for consulting?” or “Is this a committee decision, or do YOU have the green light to move forward?”
The “When” question is pivotal because it pertains to TIME.
If there is no buying urgency, typically the prospect won’t mind wasting your time, and his or hers. If time is of the essence, this tells you to stop the clock, give that prospect your complete attention, and ask for the sale.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books and more than a thousand articles. A frequent expert commentator on radio and TV, he is quoted often in prominent publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Business Week. His seminars and training programs are sponsored internationally and he is a top-rated faculty member at more than 40 universities. Dynamic, experienced, and lots of fun, Gary brings more than two decades of solid management and consulting experience to the table, along with the best academic preparation and credentials in the speaking and training industry. Holder of a Ph. D. from the Annenberg School For Communication at USC, an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management, and a law degree from Loyola, his clients include several Fortune 1000 companies along with successful family owned and operated firms. Much more than a “talking head, ” Gary is a top mind that you'll enjoy working with and putting to use. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org .