Tips for Spot-On Lead Qualification
Once, when I was about 10, I got a pretty nasty cut on the inside of my leg. When I was going to get stitches, the nurse came over with an ungodly sized needle...the Novocaine. I asked my father if the needle was going to hurt. He replied, 'No.' Then, as I screamed in agony, he followed with, '...but it's going to sting like crazy.'
That's an important preface for this article on lead qualification. The beginning isn't going to hurt (I really hope), but it's going to sting a little. Ready? Your leads are just not that into you.
That guy you've been trying to reach for a month? You know the one you had an 'awesome' conversation with who 'just has to check with his friend'? Not that into you.
You know the mom who just has to check her kids youth football schedule? Not that into you.
The company that just has to get to the next budget cycle so they can, ahem, 'budget for it'? Not that into you.
Starting with this 'negative' mindset is important for a couple reasons:
1. If you start from a place of negativity, you'll start searching for solutions, as opposed to 'hoping they'll just finally say yes.' Persistence is not a virtue if the client has no intention of buying. It's just really annoying.
2. It will make you more naturally curious in the sales process. You'll be less afraid to push on a 'good conversation', because you'll be addicted to truth in the sales process, not desperate for said 'good conversation.'
3. It eradicates the disease of 'Maybe' and illuminates the answer of 'No.' Great salespeople believe that 'maybe' is the worst sales answer and 'no' is the 2nd best. Unfortunately, that's not how most sales reps persist. Starting with a 'negative' mindset on your current leads helps 'No' be a better answer.
Once you've grasped the negative mindset, here a few other important things to think about when you are qualifying your leads, or simply trying to get more answers:
-> The Brett Zalaski Lead Qualification Rule of Thumb: If you had a good conversation with them a while back, and now you hate the sight of their name...it's time to let them go. They're just not that into you.
-> Set Up the No: Many sales reps get a lot of 'maybe's' because they're nice and pretty good at their jobs. That may not seem fair, but people just don't want to say 'no' to people anymore. Start the sales process by saying it's 'ok' if it doesn't work out. Give them permission to tell you no from the start...and keep reinforcing that along the way. This builds trust that you're not a 'pushy salesperson,' and gets you more answers about where they are in their sales process along the way.
-> Push Objections...Push Them Real Good: 'I just have to talk to my friends,' is an objection. It's literally the reason someone's not buying today, and the 'I just have to...' objection is the most frequent one we face in sports. PUSH BACK! 'Most people I sell to are so excited that they buy the tickets first and tell their friends second. This makes me think something is holding you back, or you're just not that excited? How true is that?' Their answer here will absolutely show you how qualified they are. Very specific answer? Real interest. Non-specific or generic answer? Sorry...they're just not that into you.
-> 'Put it in an email...' ='s 'No': Sorry to be so blunt on this one...but this is not a qualified lead. If they don't value you your input as an expert to this conversation, they are just pushing you off. 'But Brett, this one time this one woman responded...' Let me cut you off there. There's a reason you are remembering 'this one time' and conveniently forgetting the hundreds to thousands of un-returned emails in a similar situation. Make sure they value you in the process. 'I'm sorry, we have hundreds of things I could send you. My job is to listen to you and help determine the right thing for you. When would you have more time to discuss so I don't overburden you?' Boom-shak-a-laka.
These are my best hints and tricks on how to get more answers, and on how to properly qualify your leads. I'll close with an amazing quote from one of my favorite comedies, Super Troopers. Chief Grady says, 'Desperation is a stinky cologne.' It really is. If you are desperate enough to allow 'good conversations' to just continue to play out without qualifying your leads...you won't make sales. If you are confident enough to get answers, and accept 'no's', you'll have a pipeline full of qualified leads...and a name on top of the sales board.