By Amy O’Connor

Pre Qualifying Customers

Meet, greet, qualify and repeat. Sound about right? This is sequence most sales people use when meeting a buyer for the first time. And, to their defense, this is how salespeople are most often trained. But why this mad dash to get to qualifying so early in the sales process? What’s the rush? Here are some common answers I hear from sales people:

  • “So I don’t waste my time with unqualified buyers.” (Okay…)
  • “So I show them the right product for what they can afford.” (I can see your point.)
  • “So I don’t waste the buyer’s time if they have no shot at buying with me.” (I’m being generous here.)

Okay, I hear ya salespeople, I do. But here are some counterpoints to consider:

  • “Do your buyers always know what they want to spend or what they can afford when they first meet with you?” No? Then how are they supposed to tell you?
  • “Are buyers always willing to share with you their true financial capabilities early in the sales process?” No again? That’s right because they see us as “not-to-be- trusted-yet” salespeople.
  • “Do buyers ever spend more than they budget?” Yes! Okay, so why are we starting with qualifying again?

From my experience, buyers are smart. And they do their homework. If a buyer is in front of you, talking to you, I like to give them the courtesy of believing that they are a ready, willing and able buyer until I discover otherwise. That’s why qualifying your buyers too early is a terrible mistake.

When you start asking your qualifying questions without first understanding their mission, it’s a big turnoff. Buyers know that we are trying to decide if they are “worth our time” and that can kill any hope of a sale.

So here’s my advice. Slow down.

You’ll get to the qualifying questions soon enough but how about first being genuinely interested in the person (yes, person) in front of you. Take time to find out more about what makes them tick, what makes them crazy and what would make them smile.

When we truly care about understanding our buyers and helping them first, then the qualifying questions that we are dying to ask simply become a natural extension of a helpful sales conversation.

Learn more about qualifying questions and radically improve your sales results by joining Ryan Taft or Amy O’Connor at The 4:2 Formula Academy. Be a part of the 12-week training cycle with 3 days of intense in-person training.  You can find more information here.

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