9 years ago
January 6, 2015

How to Successfully Qualify Sales Leads

These tips will help you successfully qualify sales lead contacts based on their interest, authority, readiness, and ability to make a purchase.

Rhys Metler

Qualification is the step that converts a sales lead into a solid prospect. There are many ways to qualify sales lead opportunities, but at the heart all of these methods are built around determining the sales lead’s interest, authority, readiness, and ability to make a purchase. Ideally, the process to qualify sales lead contacts is completed in the first conversation that you have with a new lead. If this sounds like a lot of ground to cover during a first contact, don’t worry – these tips for how to successfully qualify sales lead contacts will help.

Start to Qualify Sales Lead Opportunities Before Picking Up the Phone

As an information source to qualify sales lead contacts, the internet is an unparalleled business tool. More information is available and easier to access than ever before, which can help you determine the likely value of a sales lead before you make the first call. Be sure to complete pre-qualification research like:

  • Identifying the sales lead’s position and likely authority to make a decision from company websites and materials
  • Analyzing the business case for your offering to estimate readiness to buy and generate interest with the sales lead
  • Screening for potential issues that could impact a sales lead’s purchasing power, such as signs of financial trouble or recent major acquisitions

Use Leading Statements to Encourage Sales Leads to Share Information

Leading statements can work as well as, and in some cases better than, direct questioning of a prospect. When paired with an open ended question, leading statements have the additional advantage of creating a sales conversation, rather than a pitch, that can put momentum behind a deal with a qualified sales lead. Statements such as the following can be deployed in most sales situations:

  • So your business is targeting a threefold improvement in X by the end of next year. How do you plan to get there?
  • I understand then that since X is happening, you do need to find a solution. Can you describe what your ideal solution would entail?
  • I can see where that would pose problems – in fact I have seen that same situation in other businesses before. How do you think that is impacting your immediate goal of X?

This method to qualify sales leads also helps leads feel comfortable spontaneously sharing information, which potentially saves you as the sales rep the delicate maneuvers of asking direct questions since the information you need is being shared in the context of a conversation, rather than a question and answer session. However, since even with the most forthright sales leads you will need to ask questions.

Use Well-Directed Questions to Start Commitment to Your Sales Process

Seasoned sales reps know that the best responses to qualify sales lead opportunities come from asking questions that the lead feels comfortable answering before building up to questions that may cut closer to business interests, information that not all sales leads will immediately want to share during the first conversation. The purpose of using well-directed questions is also to avoid turning the sales conversation into an interrogational interview. Questions such as the following can help qualify sales lead authority and readiness to buy:

  • What is your company’s typical process for making purchase decisions?
  • Who else at your organization is typically involved in this decision making process who I should be speaking to and sharing this information with?
  • Can you see any potential concerns that your company might have in working with us?

By following a process to qualify sales lead opportunities of pre-qualifying, building a conversation, and asking questions that encourage sales leads to commit to the next step in your sales process, you can improve your efficiency by focusing only on those sales leads who are best qualified to buy. This has positive impacts on your sales numbers across the board. Work on your process to qualify sales lead opportunities to begin realizing these benefits.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.