Qualification is an essential step of your sales process, because it is the practice of converting your leads to prospects. This is without doubt easier said than done, and the late sales expert Zig Ziglar explained the challenge well:
“Every sale has five obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
Often sales reps are met with one or more of these obstacles in the conversation with leads. In some cases, you might run into these obstacles simply because there is no fit between the solution you provide and the needs of the lead, and then you should move on rather than wasting your time. In other cases, you can overcome these challenges or even avoid them from the beginning by effectively qualifying your leads.
To do that you need to ask questions, and you need to ask the right questions. This will turn leads into prospects who actually have the need for your product or service, will pay the money it costs, are in a hurry to close the deal, desire your offer and trust you.
Rather than starting with your ordinary sales pitch during the first meeting, you should take the opportunity to get to know the situation of your lead and the needs of the company in question. Here are some questions that you should be able to answer after the first meeting, based on the questions we ask our leads in Napp:
- How does the company currently handle the activity that you can undertake?
- What challenges are they facing in relation to this activity?
- What consequences and costs do these challenges have for the company?
- How are the challenges resolved?
Getting your lead to talk about challenges, gaps and difficulties is a success, and in that case, you should just pay close attention and listen. A rule of thumb among sales practitioners is to talk only 20% of the time and listen the other 80% (source, Forbes interview).
When you get to know and understand the needs of the lead, you can address the very real challenge experienced by the lead with your solution, rather than the common challenges you had in mind prior to the meeting. In that way, you improve the sales process by quicker getting more qualified leads.
Some people argue that you should focus on having quality meetings rather than a large quantity of meetings. However, in Napp we believe that here is no trade-off between focusing on quality and quantity, and the three Qs suggest that considering both matters is very important when improving the sales process.
After all, the number of meetings you need to book highly depends on context. In this regard, there are two questions you can ask yourself to figure out what the right amount is for your business:
- What product(s) and/or service(s) are you selling? The industry and the characteristics of your product can tell you a lot about the quantity of meetings you need to book. Your product price, product payment method, PLC etc. might require that you book a large quantity of meetings to meet your target or the opposite way around.
- What is your sales closing ratio? You can calculate the quantity of meetings you need to book, if you know your sales closing ratio, the value of a closed deal and the revenue you need to generate (ValueSelling Associates has an example of how to calculate it). Obviously, you need to book more meetings if you have a low sales closing ratio and can settle with fewer meetings if you have a high sales closing ratio.
When having an estimate – or having calculated the exact number – of meetings required to meet your target, next step is to ensure that these meetings are not only the right quantity but also the right quality.
The meeting with your prospects should be of great quality, understood in the way that what you show them should be relevant. Rather than using a standardized sales pitch and sales material, make sure that you are equipped with content that allows you to address multiple scenarios and cases for buying your product or service. As emphasized in the qualification section, listening to the needs of the prospect is key:
“People don’t like to be sold but they love to buy.”
Taking inspiration from Jeffrey Gitomer’s quote above, you should refrain from talking about what you want to sell, and instead focus on what it is that the prospect wants to buy. Be relevant and interesting and present your product or service as the solution that meets the need of the prospect. That is what makes a quality meeting.
Reach out to us, if you are looking for a platform that can help you improve the sales process by addressing the three Qs and more.