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How to Qualify a Sales Lead

Your job as a sales professional is to quickly figure out if a lead has the money to buy the product or service that you’re offering. From there, you need to figure out if that person has the authority to buy your offering (or can influence the person with that power). Taking the time to qualify a sales lead is very important.

According to the author of Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions, Keith Rosen, there are 14 questions that you should memorize so that you can more intimately understand the person and company you are speaking with to qualify a sales lead. These questions are:

  1. What are the organizational relationships that influence the decision?
  2. How does your company make the decisions to buy?
  3. What ego or ownership issues come up that need to be managed and respected that I need to be mindful of?
  4. If you don’t buy at this time, what remedial actions do you plan to take?
  5. What are the timely and relevant issues that are going on internally?
  6. How will your current vendors react to the possibility you’ll buy from us?
  7. What are the concerns or roadblocks that could crop up down the road and get in the way of us working together?
  8. Who else in your company should I be presenting to and following up with?
  9. What is the overall mood of the company and its leaders?
  10. Who are the people typically involved in this decision-making process?
  11. What challenges are you still faced with that your current solution still does not solve or address as effectively as you would like?
  12. How does your company purchase products of this type?
  13. What internal resources can you leverage to try and resolve this issue on your own?
  14. What will it cost you and your company if you keep things the way they are today?

These questions will give you some great immediate insight into the mindset of the person that you are speaking with. Each question has the ability to start a conversation that allows you to assess whether or not they have a real need or desire to buy what you’re selling.

Why Do You Need to Qualify Leads?

Qualifying leads saves you time and energy. It’s something that you need to be really good at. The best sales leaders are not just closers, but they’re also amazing openers. They open conversations with companies that can use a product, and also the people who have the ability to actually purchase the offering.

The lead qualification has become extra important with the rise of the Internet. This is because the Internet has given every company an almost unlimited pool of potential clients to reach out to. You need to be able to strategically consider which leads are worth your effort because wasted efforts are time lost to try to attract serious buyers.

Learning how to accurately qualify (or disqualify) a sales lead is the difference between a fantastic new deal or misusing a lot of your time. When you bark up the wrong tree, you waste your sales efforts and will ultimately close fewer deals over time.

To avoid barking up the wrong tree, you really need to understand the emotions of the person you are talking to. Paul Cherry, author of Questions that Sell, explains: “It’s really being able to tap into somebody’s ego, their emotions, frustrations, and concerns. I think most customers and prospects do want to talk if you ask them the right questions. When starting to talk about features and benefits, the prospect just tunes out.”

When Should You Start Qualifying a Lead?

Qualifying a lead begins before the initial conversation even happens. Before you have a conversation or even reach out to a sales prospect, do a lot of research. Use a resource like LinkedIn to get to know the background of the person you’re speaking with. Learn as much as possible about the company you might speak with. If the person has the right background, has the ability to make or influence purchasing decisions, and the company looks like a good fit for your product or service, you should reach out. That trifecta is the sign of a likely qualified lead that you should put your effort into starting a conversation with.Why Do You Need to Qualify Leads?