Contrary to a common belief, not every prospect is worth investing your time and efforts into. In fact, most of the people you with your sales will not buy from you. And quite often it is not because of the quality of your efforts.
Making a sale is a long process. It takes time and effort to win a new client for your business. There is the research that you need to do, prospecting, making the initial contact, meetings, presentations and follow ups. It could take weeks before you get any response from a prospect and in many cases, it is not the one you were hoping for.
Therefore, in order to make the most out of your sales efforts you need to target the very prospects that show the biggest chance to buy from you. Part of this is to learn how to quickly spot a prospect that’s worth going after. In this post I will show you exactly how to do this.
A good prospect, a one that’s worth putting time and effort into MUST have all of those 3 attributes:
They must need what you are selling
A highly qualified prospect will need what you are selling relatively soon. Of course, you can also go after prospects that might need your products or services sometime later in the future, although as a rule, the best prospect is the one that needs you right now, or very soon.
They must have the money to pay you
No budget no sale, therefore you need to ensure that the prospect is able to pay you for your work.
Lastly, your prospect must have the authority to sign the dotted line. There is no point for you to be talking to an employee, who in fact can be really enthusiastic about it, if the decision has to be made by someone else.
A good prospect is the one that can say yes to you and you shouldn’t be talking to anyone else.
Once you know what to look for in a potential prospect, you also need to learn how to assess people you meet against those criteria. This can be easily done by following the 4 steps below:
1. Define your target market
Defining the market helps you to narrow down the search for prospects and also helps in identifying prospects that have immediate need for your services or product.
2. Assess their need, budget and buying authority
Once you know who and where your prospects are, it is time to find out if they can afford buying from you and who has the power to say yes. The easiest way to do this is by asking simple pre-qualifying questions:
- – what are the latest projects they worked on
- – have they worked with my competition and on what size of a project
- – when was the last time they used similar service/product as mine
and so on.
3. Evaluate their financial status
A company that recently laid off half of their staff will most likely not going to be able to pay you. A one in financial straits isn’t going to make up for a good client either.
Your next step is to find out about your prospects financial situation. Try to establish what kind of budget they might have annually for what you are offering, their history of recent purchases.
A great trick that I use to find out about my prospects financial status (and also how willing they are to invest in new projects) is checking the quality of their marketing materials, both online and offline. If they are done on the cheap, it might be a sign that either they don’t like to invest in their business or simply have no money to do so.
On the contrary, a high class marketing collateral tells you that the owners of the company take their business seriously and are not afraid to spend money on it if they see the benefit in doing that.
4. Develop a grading system
Lastly, you need to develop a grading system to differentiate your prospects based on the probability of making a sale. Such system will help you to focus on high grade prospects and invest your time and efforts where you might see the best returns.
Image: “Close up of a businessman with binoculars/Shutterstock“