If you're in a selling situation where you get to call back leads that have expressed an interest in your product or service, then consider yourself lucky. Whether they come from traditional advertising sources or from the internet, inbound leads save you the time, effort - and often the terror! - of cold calling. While these leads are great to get they also present some challenges that many sales reps aren't prepared to handle.
If you've called leads like these back, then you know what I mean. In many cases sorting through the shoppers, the people looking for the best price, people who were just bored and filled out the online form, etc., can be a huge task. The problem for most reps is two-fold:
1) They immediately assume that a warm lead is more qualified than a cold call and, 2) They've never been taught how to really qualify these kinds of leads.
Here are three things you must do to qualify interested prospects:
#1) Find out if they are a shopper or a buyer. Most sales reps (80% or more) automatically assume that a warm lead is interested and qualified so they immediately launch into pitch mode. This is a big mistake. The best way to open your call is to ask questions to find out how close your prospect is to making a decision. Good opening questions to ask include:
"Thanks for visiting our site; what motivated you to (request info, fill out our online form, etc.) today?"
"Ideally, what are you looking for today?"
"When are you looking to move on something like this?"
Listen carefully to their answers and respond accordingly.
#2) Find out who else they are looking at. Let's face it - if your prospect has taken the time to fill out your on line form or call your company, they have probably filled out others as well. One thing you absolutely must do is find out who you're in competition with. Try:
"Thank-you again for contacting us. Who else are you getting information from?"
"What did you like about that (company, website, etc.)"
"Have you spoken with someone from that company yet?"
"What did you like about that?"
"Who do you like best so far?" While it may seem negative to bring up your competition, you absolutely must know what your prospect is thinking and how far along in the buying decision they are. It's much better to know up front how likely they are to go with another company, and/or what you need to say or do to get them to buy from you.
#3) Find the key buying motive. While this may sound straight forward, you'd be surprised by how many reps think the buying motive is already there because the prospect called in or submitted a form, etc. That's why most reps go into pitch mode and literally wait for the prospect to buy. Unfortunately, as many of you know, that doesn't happen.
What you must do is ask specific qualifying questions to find out exactly what it's going to take to get your prospect to buy. After you've asked the previous questions, try:
"Why have you decided that now is the time to finally act on this (product or service)?"
"If you could get everything you wanted from this, (or - were 100% satisfied) what would that be?"
"Prospect, I'd love to earn your business with this, what do you think it would take for you to choose our company?"
Ultimately, understanding why your prospect will and will not buy from you is what you need to know as a sales rep. And getting this information from an "interested lead" is just as important as from a "cold" lead as well.
I hope you use these three ways to qualify your interested prospects - they are sure to save you a lot of time and energy...