Always Pre-Qualify Your Prospects - and Here's Why

September 8, 2021

Whether you work in sales or marketing you need a list full of prospects to contact in order to promote or sell your services.

Without people to target you are never going to hit your targets, no matter how exciting your campaign might be or how innovative your product is, so it’s crucial that your prospecting list contains plenty of names and contact details - provided that they’re the right ones, of course.

For many, a prospect is a prospect. You just want to get on the phone and start speaking to them about what you have to offer, and that’s natural, it’s your job after all. 

However, not all sales leads are actually good prospects and you might find that there are all kinds of problems waiting around the corner, and that’s why it’s so important to pre-qualify your prospects before you get into any negotiations.

Why do I need to pre-qualify my sales prospects?

Pre-qualification is a process that can save you a great deal of time (and stress) in the long run. Instead of taking a scattergun approach to sales and marketing campaigns in an attempt to get any and everyone to buy into what you’re offering, pre-qualification of prospects and sales leads will enable you to target the right people from both a personal and professional standpoint.

From a sales perspective you want to spend your time working on sales leads that are destined to go somewhere. Nobody ever wants a cold lead that never warms up and just keeps stringing you along with no intention of buying, and when you could be filling up your pipeline with warmer prospects you don’t want to spend too long contacting those who just aren’t interested or right for your business.

With that in mind, assessing your prospects in advance can also help to save your internal teams a great deal of difficulty. There are some sales leads that are potentially great to work with and to have in your portfolio or splashed across your website as a case study; but there are others who are more trouble than they’re worth. It’s these companies that often come with a reputation for going from agency to agency blaming each one instead of accepting that the agency they’re paying (or should be paying) knows best.

Most business owners can tell horror stories about previous clients or customers that have caused significant grief along the way, and there will be some who have even torn up contracts just to get them out of the business and to call time on the working relationship. With the benefit of hindsight, pre-qualifying this prospect and ensuring that the people involved in the business are the right people for you to work with would have saved a lot of hassle, arguments, meetings and even invoice chasing and it’s something that you soon learn from albeit, the hard way.

How to qualify sales prospects

In order to qualify your sales prospects you need to create your own set of predetermined criteria, and these will vary from business to business. 

Several of these criteria are fairly similar across all businesses and are based on who you currently work with and whether there is a “fit” between you and your prospect in terms of what you can offer without any issues across sectors. Another is related to the prospect themselves, and whether or not they have the budget to buy into what it is you’re offering. If they don’t have the funds to invest, it’s not worth trying to force it.

So how do you qualify your sales prospects? Here are a few ways`:

  1. Encourage your sales team to assess whether or not their details match

When you’ve got your own criteria in place as to who is likely to be a good match for you to work with, ask your sales team to qualify the prospect as they’re the ones who will have spoken with them and got to ‘know’ the prospect. If they don’t sound like they’re completely right for your business, don’t pursue it; and similarly if they don’t tick all of your essential criteria it might be best to walk away from the deal before you get to deep.

  1. Ask plenty of questions

You learn an awful lot by asking questions, and prospects can tell you more than they realise if you can engage them in a working conversation. By establishing what is troubling them with their current situation and the current systems or processes they have in place you can learn about the business and where they’re going.

You can also get a feel for the person you’re speaking to, and whether or not they truly believe in the business they work for and the goals they have set themselves. If they reveal too much about internal politics or a lack of budget, it’s time to walk away from the negotiations; but if they tell you that there is a budget and that they are looking to hit realistic targets then that lead is one that’s worth investing more time.

There is an unofficial sequence of questions you should be looking at:

  • Budget - do they have one, and is it enough to cover your costs
  • Authority - does the person you’re speaking to have the authority to invest
  • Need - does their business need your business, product or service to improve their own processes
  • Timing - when are they looking to start

  1. Sign up to HeyProspect

Ultimately, you could save yourself a whole lot of time and effort by signing up to HeyProspect, where all of the prospects we send you are pre-qualified and matched to your specified criteria. 

If you’re looking to work with a business in a specific sector or location with a healthy budget, we can provide the type of prospects you’re looking for and each has already been vetted so you can get the conversation flowing with people you want to work with.

To learn more about our prospecting process or the subscription options available, get in touch with the team at HeyProspect today.

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