We all know how challenging it is to keep your pipeline full, so you’re probably happy and relieved when you generate new leads and see that you’ve accomplished this mission.
And you’ve actually just scratched the surface because not every lead that ends up in your pipeline will convert – and that’s ok since some of them definitely aren’t a good fit for your product or service.
However, recognizing good, high intent leads that have the potential to turn into your buying customers and distinguishing them from the bad ones is quite a challenge. That’s why your discovery calls are so important, and you should prepare yourself for each and every one of them in advance. It’s during these conversations that you’ll have to decide whether a particular prospect is worth nurturing or you should call it quits.
By recognizing bad leads early on, you’ll save yourself a lot of time as you won’t be wasting your efforts on someone who will never purchase from you.
Having the lead qualification process in place can help you with this, and sales qualifying questions that are at its core are crucial for unearthing valuable information about leads and filtering out those most likely to accept your offering.
- 1. What Problems Are You Struggling With?
- 2. Why Did You Choose This Particular Timing for Solving Your Problem?
- 3. What Will Happen If You Don’t Solve Your Problem?
- 4. How Did You Find Out About Our Brand?
- 5. Who Is the Decision-Maker?
- 6. Were You Unhappy With Your Previous Vendor and Why?
- 7. What’s Your Budget?
- 8. Is There Anything That Prevents Us From Moving On and Working Together?
- 9. When Do You Expect to See Results?
- Closing Words
1. What Problems Are You Struggling With?
Identifying your prospect’s pressing issues and initiating a conversation about these issues will prompt them to re-examine their current solutions, if they use any, and try to figure out what’s currently not working.
Maybe they’re just shopping around, or they have already made up their mind to purchase from one of your competitors, and if they’re not very interested in elaborating on this matter, then it might be a red flag that they’re not serious.
In some cases, prospects might not even be aware of the extent of their problem, and this approach will help them realize they should do something about that. By establishing their pain point early on, you’ll subtly make a case for using your product or service.
2. Why Did You Choose This Particular Timing for Solving Your Problem?
Asking your prospect why they decided to solve their problem now is important for understanding their motivations.
There’s a reason why they chose this moment, and you can capitalize on this. Maybe there has been a recent change in their leadership structure, their existing vendor is no longer suitable for them, or some similar trigger event, so they want to improve things and address the issues that the company has been facing.
Such prospects will be more willing to speed up the process and close a deal, especially if they can give you a clear explanation about the “why now” part.
3. What Will Happen If You Don’t Solve Your Problem?
The answer to this question will tell you whether the prospect actually has a pressing need.
If they answer something along the line of “nothing that will shake the company to the core,” this means that they still have room for maneuver and that they’re still weighing their options.
At this point, you can either disqualify this prospect or give plan B a try. By explaining the potential consequences and dangers of postponing their decision, you’ll paint a bleak picture of their future that will snowball into a big problem and get them to rethink their procrastination.
4. How Did You Find Out About Our Brand?
Although this question doesn’t seem like an effective way of getting into your prospect’s mind and understanding their intent, it can be very useful.
Based on the quality of source from which they learned about your brand, you can determine the outcome, at least to a certain extent.
For example, referrals are much more reliable sources as they’re practically recommendations by trusted people. In other words, the likelihood that a lead obtained through a referral will convert is higher than that of the one that came through Facebook.
Another factor you should take into consideration is the history of every particular lead source’s success when it comes to the quality of prospects it brings.
5. Who Is the Decision-Maker?
This is the key information you need in order to decide whether you’ll nurture that particular lead.
Namely, your point of contact might be very interested in your product or service, they might be convinced that your solution is exactly what their organization needs, and there can be an obvious pain point.
But all this doesn’t mean anything if your prospect doesn’t have decision-making authority or if you can’t reach the decision-maker(s).
Even if the person you’re talking to is the decision maker’s assistant who’s been tasked with exploring your solution and collecting relevant information, you’ll have to repeat the same process twice.
The thing is that the assistant will share what they found out, but you can’t expect that all the crucial details will be passed on and that they will be as impactful as they would if you had an opportunity to speak to the decision-maker yourself.
Also, bear in mind that there might be several stakeholders and that purchasing is a joint decision, so make sure you reach out to the right people.
6. Were You Unhappy With Your Previous Vendor and Why?
This question doesn’t have the purpose of trash-talking your competitors, and you should refrain from that.
If your potential client wants to switch from their existing vendor, then there must be something that bothers them. Pinpointing this will help you tailor your approach and highlight the features and benefits of your solution that are important to your prospect.
Also, it’s good to know this for future reference so that you can avoid making the same mistake and losing your client. Plus, this can also be a sneaky method of discovering your competitors’ weak points and improving your solutions, service, and customer experience.
7. What’s Your Budget?
Don’t hesitate to ask this early on in the lead qualification process, as this information plays a crucial role in the success of your efforts.
If your prospect’s budget is limited, you should know this upfront before you invest your time and resources into preparing a presentation and a final offer. No matter how much your solution fits their organization, nothing much can be done if they can’t afford it.
You can either disqualify this prospect or talk to them about whether they expect their budget to increase at a certain point and reach out to them then.
8. Is There Anything That Prevents Us From Moving On and Working Together?
Finding out your prospect’s objections and deal-breakers early on in the process can save you a lot of effort.
The answer to this question will tell you what they don’t want and need so that you can establish whether their expectations and requirements align with what you can deliver.
If you know each other’s boundaries, you’ll be able to see what could turn out to be an issue down the road, so that you can prevent a fiasco of failing to live up to their expectations.
9. When Do You Expect to See Results?
Never rush your prospects into making a decision before you’re absolutely sure you know their expectations and your ability to deliver on time.
Take into consideration what comes after the purchase – the implementation, onboarding, and getting up to speed.
All this can have a huge impact on how quickly your solution will start yielding results, and your prospect should be aware of that. So, if they expect instant results and you’re not sure that it’s possible, make sure to communicate this very clearly and see whether you can meet halfway.
Besides, if you find out that the prospect isn’t exactly sure when they want to see results, this is an indicator that they don’t have a predefined timeline and that this deal lacks the element of urgency. Hence, the prospect isn’t in a rush to make a purchase, and they still might not be ready to seal the deal.
These are only some of the lead qualifying questions that you should prepare and ask every prospect early on in the qualification process. You should also carefully analyze their answers and think twice before you qualify or disqualify them. Don’t give up easily, but on the other hand, don’t delude yourself if you see some red flags along the way. You’ll lose not only a deal but also other business opportunities that you neglected in favor of the one that turned out to be the wrong fit.