Sales Tips Learnt Firsthand: Qualifying Prospects
When I first started working at m62 several years ago, we used to send proposals and sales materials by fax. I would send printouts of before and after slides that we’d done. Anyone who’s seen our slides and is aware of the amount of animation involved will realise how ineffective this must have been – but at the time, this was all technology allowed!
The whole sales process has changed since then, and as technology has advanced, I’ve adapted the way I sell.
In my first role in telesales, I’d arrange meetings for the members of our sales team who were based on the road. All too often, the sales guys would go to the meeting and then realise that the prospect had no intention of spending a considerable amount on a presentation, even though they were really impressed by the slides. Even if they did, we would often end up talking to the wrong person – the meeting would be arranged with an executive or manager, when we needed to speak to a director or someone with budget approval. We would then need to schedule another sales meeting so that we could speak to the right person. It soon became clear to me that this was not the most efficient way to conduct our sales calls.
I realised that I was going to have to start qualifying leads somewhat. I started by checking budget levels by informing prospects of the average price of a presentation – but this was difficult to justify over the phone when they hadn’t seen the presentation itself. So I began to give prospects a quick 5-minute presentation remotely whilst on the phone to them, so they could see what they would be getting – and understand what the price was for. The web meetings allowed me to demonstrate that we don’t just make PowerPoint look better – I was able to demonstrate the technique so prospects could really see the value. And of course, now we have breakthrough technology SightDeck in the Liverpool office, I can send prospects a link to a video presentation – which is even more engaging.
I found that if someone had seen this intro presentation and accepted the budget, and then agreed to the meeting, we could consider them a qualified lead. This meant our sales guys on the road weren’t wasting their time with prospects unlikely to buy, and also meant that the person who needed to be in the room would be – reducing the number of meetings required to close the deal. This was a far more efficient way of operating and saved the business lots of time and money.
Make sure you properly qualify leads before you meet with them, and make sure the decision maker is in the room. It will help you make more sales, more profitably!
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