There no reason to spend time with non-prospects, people who can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t buy what you sell. There is also no reason to spend time with people who, for whatever reason, shouldn’t buy from you.
There is also no reason not to spend time with people so you can make a good decision about whether or not they deserve your time. It doesn’t make sense to treat everyone like they aren’t qualified before you know that for certain.
“Ready to buy” is not the standard for evaluating leads. That standard would make you an order-taker. If your prospective client wanted to buy what you sell right out of the gate, you would be redundant at best and irrelevant at worse.
Over qualifying is just as bad as not qualifying at all. It may, in fact, be worse.
Where It Lies
In golf (a game I loathe), you play the ball where it lies (and if I hit the ball, it lies in the weeds, in the sand, or in the drink). In sales, you take the lead where you find them in their process. You don’t get to decide that they should be further into the process of buying just because it’s inconvenient for you to have to sell.
Serve your prospective client where you find them:
- If the prospect isn’t quite compelled enough to change, you help them develop a problem worth solving.
- If the lead has a problem worth solving, you help them develop an understanding of what needs to change and you help provide them with a vision of a better future state.
- If the prospect is evaluating options, you help them explore trade-offs and the concessions they may need to make to create that future state.
It’s Called Selling
If you want to be consultative, have a conversation and explore the prospect’s state. When you are at your best, you can pick up a client who is completely satisfied and help move them to a different state.
Even if your lead doesn’t turn out to be an opportunity, you have a chance to create a relationship, one that may pay dividends later.
You shouldn’t be trying harder to disqualify prospects out than you are trying to qualify them in.
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Filed under: Qualification