Having an extensive list of prospective clients seems exciting at first. It may seem like there are more opportunities out there. But how many times have you ramped yourself up to give a pitch, and you thought it would turn out good, but in the end, you found out you were pitching to the wrong person? We’ve all come across prospects who got all the way to the very end of the sales funnel only to discover they don’t have the funds for your services, they simply don’t need them, or are in other ways not the type of client you want or need.
Not only is this frustrating because you did a great job pitching your services, but the time and effort you wasted on this prospective client could have been put towards a more qualified prospect.
What is pre-qualifying, and why is it important?
If you feel like you have hit a brick wall with your sales team, it’s time to get down to it and really figure out what is keeping you from advancing. One of the reasons it could seem you have hit that wall is that you have been spending too much time on clients that aren’t worth it. We’re here to tell you not all clients are worth pursuing.
Pre-qualifying is a process that will help you determine whether or not a client is worth your time. With these few steps, you’ll notice your team spending more time on qualified clients and ultimately bringing in more money.
1. Evaluate the opportunity
Often times, we spend so much time selling our services that we never take the time to understand what the person on the other end of our pitch really needs. Before you even get into the details, ask what they are looking for. Sometimes you will find that they are searching for the best rates, and other times they will be interested in buying your services someday, but not today. In the worst-case scenario, they will have no interest in working with you, and that is all right! It’s best to find that out early, rather than wasting time and resources by putting together a proposal. The goal is to understand each prospect’s motive. Sometimes, you just might find that the potential client is very interested in working with you. In that case, you can get right down to the point, close the deal, and move on to the next client!
2. Determine the fit
Not every prospective client is going to be a good fit for your company. Working with a business or person that is not a good fit can cost you a lot of time and resources that you could be applying to better clients. To determine the fit, ask about their goals and how they are measured. What does success look like to them? What are their expectations? By doing so, you can get a good understanding of their attitude and how they will measure your success. If you have the slightest doubt that the company is not a good fit, go with your gut feeling. The chances of you changing their ways are very unlikely.
3. Don’t be afraid to talk budget
One of the biggest reasons clients end up not coming on board is because it does not fit their budget. A lot of people are intimidated to ask clients about this since it seems like such a personal question, but the reality is, it’s part of the business. The best way to ask prospective clients about this topic is by asking if they have a set budget for your type of services. If they respond that they do, and it is way off track with your quote, there may not be any chance of getting them to agree on a price. If you get any sense that they won’t be able to fit your services in with their budget, it’s best to cut ties rather than expecting them to pay in the end. While they might agree to a price at first, this could fall through a couple weeks or months into the service, leading the client to quit and costing your company unnecessary money.
Do your research
When you are cold calling prospective clients, you usually don’t know a single thing about the company you are calling, and they don’t know anything about you. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t. Thanks to the internet and social media, you can find a lot of information on your own about a business or person. You can explore their website, read some reviews if there are any, and look through their social media to get an idea of the company and how your services could help them. It might seem like an extra step, but it will help eliminate some prospects who would have just wasted your time. Additionally, research is always good to do before reaching out to a client so you can better form your conversation.
Interviewing: a way to pre-qualify prospects
Jumping into a game of 21 questions at first is probably not the best way to win a client, but during the process of qualifications, you should always ask questions. Here are some that you need to keep in mind
- What are your goals?
- What results do you expect?
- What are your priorities?
- Who is involved in making the decision?
- How would you measure our success?
- What potential problems do you face down the road?
- Are your competitors successful? Is there anything your competitors do that you wish you could?
Call Motivated Sellers helps with pre-qualified prospects
It’s not unusual to have prospective clients say they are interested in your services and get all the way to the proposal to find out they aren’t qualified. At Call Motivated Sellers, we can help your company weed out the unqualified prospects by gathering the pertinent information from them.