You can be the best salesperson in the world, but if you’re not talking to a qualified buyer, all your efforts will be for naught. So before you even attempt to make the presentation of your life, be sure you’re speaking to a real prospect.
There are three levels of people a salesperson can be involved with—a suspect, a prospect, or a customer. Suspects need to be further qualified to see whether they really are prospects who can actually buy your product or service. Some things you need to find out before you have a bona-fide prospect include:
- Does the person have a real need for your product?
- Has the person expressed a want for your type of product?
- Does the person need or want your product now?
- Can the person afford to pay for it?
- Will your product fill the person’s needs?
- Does the person have the authority to buy?
- Is the person creditworthy if payments are involved?
- Has the person ever purchased this type of product before?
If you can answer yes to most or all of these questions, you’re ready to go on the sales presentation and make the sale. When you know you’re speaking to a real prospect, you can forge ahead, knowing you’re not wasting valuable time with someone who will never buy.
Qualifying a buyer can be done by you or by telemarketing, but it should be accomplished before you make a serious sales effort. Spending your precious sales time in front of a bona-fide prospect will obviously increase your sales and profits. But just because someone isn’t a prospect today, that doesn’t mean he or she won’t be in the future. Check
back periodically to see whether the situation has changed. Your suspect may not be buying a new car or house now, but he might be buying next spring. Don’t delete him from your files forever; just future-date him. It’s hard to sell Christmas trees in June, but everyone’s a prospect in December.