If I asked a room full of experienced salespeople how many of them qualify their clients, every hand would go up. If I asked that same group to define "qualify," the answers would probably vary to the extent that a newcomer in sales would be somewhat confused. If I then asked these experienced salespeople to deliver their qualification sequence to the group, I'd have to guess that many would not be able to do so. Too few salespeople, even veterans, have proven, practiced methods of qualification.
That's an especially sad truth, since our statistics show that the biggest difference between the high-income earners and those who earn average incomes in this business lies in their skill of qualifying.
Everyone in sales would agree with me when I say that it's ridiculous to waste your time presenting to an unqualified client. But how many actually hone their skills when it comes to mastering this vital step? Nowhere near enough. If you could not right now describe your clear, solid qualification sequence on demand, it's time to give it some serious thought and attention.
To build an effective qualification sequence, ask yourself, "What do I need to know in order to prove to each potential client that my product is right for him or her and that now is the right time to make the investment?"
The answers will point you directly to the questions you need to have in your arsenal. Take some time right now to write out the answers you need to help you determine if your product is right for someone. Then write the questions that will get you those answers. To know whether or not you're on the right track, ask yourself this about each question: "Will the answer to this question tell me if this prospective client actually has the need, desire, and money to make a decision today if my product is the best one for their needs?" If your questions do not lead you to answer "yes," then you're not qualifying to the best of your ability.
The basic NEAD qualification sequence I teach includes questions that tell you what they have Now; what they Enjoy most about it; what they would Alter; and who is the final Decision-maker. Those four areas must be covered by your questions. The other information you need will vary depending on your product or service, or even the type of client you have.
Since you're a sales professional and not an interrogator, the next step is to soften your questions to make them friendly while still getting the answers you need.
Next, take a step back and look at your questions. Which naturally lead in from one to the other? Group those together, continuing to rearrange them all until you have an entire sequence of questions that flow well in conversation, one topic to the next, providing you with the information you need to do your job well.
True professionals never finish refining their skills and the art of their profession. Your goal in qualification is to have the client provide you with the maximum amount of information with the minimum effort. Properly worded questions in your qualification sequence will do just that.
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