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Qualification is the critical first stage in any sales opportunity, but however hard you work some leads just aren’t ready to buy immediately, even if all your research suggests otherwise. They may not be ruling you out as a potential supplier for good, but you still need to be able to distinguish these individuals so that you’re not wasting time.

So how do filter out the “wheat from the chaff”?

  1. Assign Homework

If you send a video or a post to read, will they be interested enough to actually look at them?

If they do, then it’s probably safe to assume that they’re at least partially interested and they may be curious to learn more.

  1. Qualify Needs First

If you’re preoccupied with uncovering the decision making process or of the prospect can sign by a certain date, the you’re giving out all the wrong messages. Instead, focus on when they need to see results from buying your product or service.

This line of questioning helps clarify the importance of the need and how keen the prospect is to find a solution. The you can stipulate a start date and ask if that timeline is achievable.  If they’re not ready to buy or are still fact finding then they’ll likely just say that the timeline doesn’t work for them.

  1. Reference Previous Conversations

Sales rarely close after just one conversation; in fact most research suggests that it will take five or more interactions before the prospect says “yes”.  If you make mention of previous conversations you can get a sense of how much information the prospects has retained, what has resonated with them and whether they’ve given the conversation any more thought.

If they haven’t retained much it may show that they’re not especially interested.

  1. Conduct Pre-Call Research

By doing some initial research before you start to contact new prospects you can reduce the amount of time you waste on unproductive calls. Are they a potential good fit for you? Are they likely to be suffering from the types of problems your product can solve?

This also means that you have information to had that you can bring into the conversation when you make the call, that you have something that might be of interest and that you won’t appear to be just making blind sales pitches.

  1. Use Social Media

If you review your prospects’ social media posts, you’ll often find snippets of information you can bring into conversations. Equally, if you monitor relevant topics on social media you can potentially identify individuals who are engaging in relevant discussions and you can use their posts as means of making initial contact.

  1. Ask Customers About Their Frustrations

Asking about current pain points and understanding the impact of not addressing these, helps you develop a list of things that the prospect actually needs.

  1. Ask Them To Explain Their History

If you ask a prospect if and how they’ve tried to fix a particular problem in the past will give you insights into how serious these problems actually are and whether or not they’ve managed to solve them.

If they’ve tried  a number of solutions then it would suggest that the problem still exists and that they’re still interested in finding a solution.


Without knowing who your potential customers are and I they’re likely to buy from you, you’ll never create a strategy that works for them and for you.


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