The art of qualifying – listen to your buyer

This sounds deadly obvious, but the sad truth is that so many salespeople have no idea the first thing about qualifying, and even some of the ones who do have very little idea as to what to do with the information once they have it.

Andrew Hendry

Written by Andrew Hendry, Co-Founder at REALQualified Inc.
Published Jan 30, 2020

I was recently on a call with a company that I’ll leave anonymous. They were trying to sell me lead generation for my company. Let’s call the sales rep Jeff (sorry in advance to anyone in sales named Jeff – I’m sure you rock). I told Jeff at the beginning of the call that I was looking for a system to help follow-up with a database. I was hoping to learn more about what they offer in regards to follow-up. 

As soon as I told him what I wanted, he dove straight into his pre-scripted presentation about lead generation, about how they can help me generate new opportunities, and the cost of that service (all tied together in a neat bow that he called his sales presentation).

Let’s make the premise of this article as deadly obvious as the main point:

Find out what your buyer wants, and give them the thing that they want.

Done. Bottom line. Plain and simple. Ask them questions that lead them to tell you what it is they want/need, and then pitch them only if your product/service can solve their problems or help them achieve their goals. If you can’t, direct them elsewhere. Simple.

One of my main sales influencers is Jordan Belfort (some of you may know him better as The Wolf of Wall Street). When I tell people that my sales idol went to prison for his professional choices, some people give me a raised eyebrow. 

And look – yes he went to prison for making some poor choices ethically speaking. But the reality is that his selling foundations are sound and based very much in human psychology. 

One of his central tenets is cycling through your prospects in an effective manner as to eliminate the people who shouldn’t be in your pipeline as quickly as possible so that you can focus all of your time and effort on the people who should be. Let’s break it down real quick. Belfort talks about there being four types of buyers (I write a deeper article on this):

  1. Buyers in Heat: these are your BEST prospects. They have a problem that they are aware of and they are ready to solve it NOW. (This is where I was with Jeff, by the way).

  2. Motivated Buyers: these are excellent prospects. They know they have a reason to buy something, they’re just not sure what yet and they aren’t quite ready. That being said, this group is a great group to influence to buy your product, now.

  3. Tire Kickers: Do not spend much time with these prospects. They aren’t buyers.

  4. Mistakes: they ended up in your pipeline somehow but should never have been there in the first place.

When you have a buyer in heat who comes to your sales call and lays out exactly what they’re looking for right away, you need to qualify them as quickly as possible and then present to them exactly what they are looking for. 

I don’t care about the bells and whistles your product has to offer on the periphery of the main features in which I am interested – tell me what you can do for me with regards to X. If I like it, I’m IN!

So the bottom line is this: close your buyers in heat quickly – they already know what they want. You know what they want.

So LISTEN to them, SHOW them what they asked for, and SELL IT!

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