Customer Experience News & Trends

Are your salespeople using the wrong qualifiers?

Before the first sales call, a salesperson will usually try to qualify the prospect according to set — and usually mistaken — criteria.

Here are some typical misguided qualifiers:

  • Does the prospect have a budget?
  • Is the budget sufficient for our needs?
  • Does the timeframe for the decision meet our objectives?

Qualification may backfire

The qualification strategy may backfire if a salesperson conveys a message that he or she is trying to find out if the prospect is worthy to buy a product or service. This approach takes the potential buyer for granted and doesn’t establish trust in the mind of the prospect.

The qualification strategy may give a prospect an uneasy feeling because it’s pursued from a selfish point of view by a salesperson. It’s all about what’s in it for the salesperson and nothing about meeting a prospect’s needs. Whether there’s a good fit for the prospect rarely enters into the meeting.

A better approach

A better approach is to look at the first meeting from the prospect’s point of view.

What do prospects expect a salesperson to know? The answers to the following nine questions will provide critical information for the prospect.

  1. Do you know me?
  2. Do we have a past?
  3. Do you know my company?
  4. Do you know my marketplace?
  5. Do you know my competitors?
  6. Do you have any special value to add?
  7. Do you know why you’re the best choice?
  8. Do you know how I can justify the purchase?
  9. Do you know what is changing as we work together?

Adapted from “Proactive Sales Intelligence: the New Requirements For Getting Into the Game,” by Jim Vickie and Barry Trailer, CSO Insights.

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