Making sales calls is already hard – don’t make it more difficult by doing a poor job qualifying your prospect. Most salespeople struggle with the discovery process. Here’s what you need to know to make that process easier.
Know Where The Call Is Going Before You Make The Call
Before you pick up the phone and dial, make sure you know where you want the sales call to go. It may not be a sale. If this is a discovery call, maybe your goal is simply to find out how much money the company has to spend on your product or service and whether they need it.
Maybe what you’re doing right now is uncovering a problem so that you can send them more information. But, you need to know where the call is ultimately going so that you know when to end it before you kill the sale.
Have A Good Idea Of What You Want From The Prospect
This is closely related to knowing where the phone call will go. You need to know what you want from the prospect. In other words, why are you having the phone call? If this is a discovery call that will be part of a two-step process, then clearly define the process, communicate that to the prospect, and then set a time to follow up with him or her in the future.
For example, this popular mortgage software and lead-capture system can identify leads, track them through the sales process, define what needs to happen next, and send follow up reminders so that the sales cycle is pushed forward.
Add Value To The Conversation
Always add value to the conversation. Give and you shall receive. You’ve heard that before, right? You have to give to your prospects before you can receive anything (even a sale) in return. Don’t be surprised if you don’t give and the prospect gives you a hard time
It’s common for sales organizations to hand out free materials, but sometimes these materials are nothing but a thinly veiled sales pitch. That’s not what you want. You want to give the prospect something real, something useable. Something that starts them down the road of being able to solve their problem.
Then, follow up with them to close the sale.
Qualify The Prospect Early
This is something that not a lot of salespeople do – especially inexperienced salespeople. But, you must do it. Qualify whether the person you’re talking to can even afford what you have to offer. If not, nothing else matters. Find out whether they have money and, if they don’t, politely end the call.
Find Out Who The Decision-Maker Is
If you’re not talking to the decision-maker, it’s game over. Nothing else matters. Always make sure that the person you’re speaking with could make a decision without consulting anyone else. If that’s not the case, get all decision-makers on the phone.
In situations where that’s not possible, arrange to meet with them in person.
Richard Reyes has been a sales office manager for 3 years now. He is always looking to improve his skills and he loves sharing his ideas and research online. You can find his articles on small business websites.