Nearly 80% of leads never result in a sale (MarketingSherpa). So the key is to qualify each lead, quickly and efficiently, so that you can spend time on the ones that are most likely to convert.
The good news is that qualifying leads shouldn't take more than ten minutes.
Minute 1: Start strong, and position yourself correctly. This is a qualifying call; position yourself as the one making the decision.
Minute 2: How did they find out about you, and why are they approaching you at this stage? Context is important; it helps you understand how much they know about you.
Minute 3: Find out if they match your target niche. You want to get a top-level summary of what they do/who they are.
Minute 4: Where is your prospect right now and where do they want to be? What this does is bring to the front of their mind their ultimate goals, and puts you in position to explain the bridge that can get them there.
Minute 5: Help them clarify exactly why it is that they're unable to get there. Here you're trying to understand the issues preventing them from getting to their goal. You can then position yourself as the solution.
Minute 6: Figure out what they hope to get from you. If they're expecting something you are likely to be able to offer, that will make it very easy to pitch to them.
Minute 7: Find out the immediacy. If the problem isn't immediate they probably aren't going to buy. A qualified lead is someone who needs what you have to offer right now.
Minute 8-9: Earn their trust and respect. If you've been listening carefully you should now be able to feed back to them exactly what it is they desire, and what it is that's preventing them from getting there. If you can articulate their problems and desires better than they can, they'll immediately associate the solution with you.
Minute 10: The last minute is for you to close the conversation. By now you should know whether they are qualified or not. If they're qualified, you'll want to explain to them what the next step is in your sales funnel.
If they're not right for you, politely let them know. If you know another business that might be able to help them, refer them onwards – you'll earn a lot of goodwill from both parties.
By qualifying your prospect you have established whether your lead is likely to convert and you’ve primed them – so they are ready to be converted.
Copyright © 2015 Shweta Jhajharia is principal coach and founder of The London Coaching Group.