Few things can take up as much time as spending time with a prospect that turns out to not be a prospect.

Every time I speak, someone comes up to me afterward and shares with me their frustration with qualifying a prospect.

Problem is we don’t realize it’s a problem until after we’ve encountered the problem first hand and we have nothing to show for our efforts than wasted time.

Below are 5 questions I believe in strongly.

Use these early in your conversation with the person who you believe is a prospect. One of the best ways we can become more efficient in selling is by not allowing our time to be wasted dealing with fake prospects.

1. How have you made decisions likes this in the past?

I like this, as it helps to uncover in a non-threatening manner the process the prospect would likely follow in making a decision.

2. What are you thinking right now is the best way to go?

This is a direct question, but when asked with the right tone of voice can uncover a lot. I ask this question to gain two insights — first, a critical need they have, and second, how emotionally tied they are to the decision.  Yes, even in a B2B situation, emotion still plays a role.

3. What’s stopping you from making a decision today?

Yes, this too is very direct, but again, that’s why I like it. The sooner you can get potential obstacles out on the table, the sooner you will know if it’s a prospect you want to turn into a customer.

4. How is this going to help you?

You must be comfortable asking this question. If there isn’t a valid reason for them to be buying, then why are you talking with them? The clarity with which the customer answers this question is going to guide me in knowing if they are a real prospect or just someone looking to waste my time.

5. How do you intend to pay for it? -or- What is the process I need to go through to be set up as a vendor?

This question has a couple of variations, based on what you’re selling and the type of customer you’re selling to, but the objective is the same — to see how ready the prospect is.

A prospect who is merely kicking the tires will get called out here by not being able to sincerely answer the question.   Don’t be afraid to ask this type of question early on.

Just like with the other questions, the objective is to validate the worthiness of the prospect early to keep you from wasting time.




Copyright 2016, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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