Qualification or Disqualification
After your lead has been identified and you are about to start your prospecting process, you will start to connect. The goal of this process is to find out if you and the prospect have a match. Can you do anything for your prospect for which he has a need? This question remains present throughout the full sales cycle. As a sales person you should be aware of this goal all the time, but especially in the beginning. Why converting a lead into a “prospect” when all he is, is a “suspect”.
This process is called the qualification process. The earlier you and your lead complete the qualification process the less time it is costing you both. Most of the wasted time during the sales process is a result of poor qualification. Of course, it is nice to show off your sales funnel by keeping the number of active prospects in the top of the funnel high, but does it not make more sense to have a thinner funnel? Put the effort at the prospects with whom you have a match.
The (dis)qualification criteria might differ per industry, but at least the following criteria should be met. You have identified a challenge your lead is facing, which might be latent. You or your company is able to solve the challenge or to improve the situation of the lead and make money out of it. Your lead is a member of the decision making unit at his organization. In case these three criteria are fulfilled you are able to qualify the lead. Nevertheless you might be required to disqualify the lead at a later stage on any other reason, but before investing time in your lead make sure you covered the above three criteria.
The lead might have an imminent or a latent requirement for a product or service. During the lead qualification this is not important to know, but you will need to search for the requirement. Once you traced the requirement, you can qualify and pursue the precise nature of the client’s challenge and how you can improve his situation.
Your solution is part of Qualification
In case you have found out about the need of the client, you should only qualify the lead if you can improve the situation not your lead and you will be paid for it. The payment can either be by money transfer, but you can also regard future business as a form of payment. In the case you are chasing payment in the future, please be even more skeptical towards putting too much effort into your lead. You might decide to temporarily park the lead to activate at a later stage. In that case, do not disqualify nor qualify, mark it as an action in your agenda.
Disqualification is a good outcome of this process as well, as it will save you time during the rest of the sales process. When you are not a match do not forget to ask for referral. Ask: Do you know anyone with this kind of challenge? (Further read: “Do not disqualify before asking for referral").