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Qualifying Your Prospects

31 Dec, 1969 By: Terrill Klett imageSource

Qualifying Your Prospects

dining out, have you ever ordered desert despite the fact that you were full?
Perhaps what enticed you to do so were the emotions that overcame you as the
desert tray was presented to you by the server. When surveying the delectable
contents of the tray your affections for sweet endings began to take over,
telling your stomach that it could access that portion designated to deserts
that must be eaten, even though the main stomach has reached its capacity (the
special “desert stomach”) The mind (facts) voted “no”, but the soul
(emotions) voted “yes”. Effective qualifying is essentially the same,
because both factual and emotional questions are utilized together to gain a
genuine interest in the solution that you can potentially provide. If all
purchases were made solely upon the facts presented (features and price), then
selling office products would be quite boring and not nearly as profitable.


It Out

is the process of asking the right questions during an appointment with the
prospect to determine if there is a need for the equipment you are selling.
Qualifying becomes less frustrating if you are able to realize the buyer’s
mentality and prepare yourself with the proper mindset and questions. A general
understanding of the buyer’s position can definitely foster a successful
relationship, which leads to your success on the sale. Enthusiasm, conviction,
and gratitude play an important role here, because a prospect may not understand
all the network connections and digital features, but they can definitely
comprehend the transference of your feelings. Perhaps the chief frustration
involved in qualifying is the old “status quo.” Plain and simple, the fear
of the unknown, or reluctance to change, will definitely become an obstacle in
your efforts to secure a sale. Keep in mind that the prospect’s job many times
is to conceal all of the pertinent information. During the appointment, you may
encounter statements such as 
“Service is great,” or “The current product meets all of my
needs.” There is the possibility that the customers may not be telling the
truth to protect them or end the appointment.


Your Objectives

each appointment, you need to determine your objective. Is it to get more
information, find a contact name, schedule a demonstration, deliver pricing, or
all of the above? The questions you ask should revolve around your quest. Just
as important is making sure that you are meeting with the appropriate person.
Just because a potential client or prospect agreed to meet with you, does not
mean that they will buy from you. Don’t ask them, “Are you the right
person,” because their answer may be “Yes” (and be only partly correct) or
they may become defensive.


phrase your question like this: 
“What was the process the last time you purchase,” or “If you
decide to invest in my digital system, what is the procedure for acquiring
it?” A better way of saying, “Who besides yourself is responsible…” is
“I understand this is an important decision for your company, who would you
like to get involved besides yourself with this decision?” From the responses
given, you will be able to determine whether or not, you are on the right track.


Your Approach

your dealership has a list of helpful questions to assist you in fact finding.


examples are:

  1. When
    is your lease ending?

  2. How
    many prints and copies per month are you presently doing?

  3. What
    type of network are you currently using?


factual questions are close ended, meaning that they require only a few words in
response. Make sure that you include questions that are open-ended because they
require more thought and dialogue from the prospect. The question mentioned
earlier about the “buying process” is a good example of a question that
requires the prospect to “open up.” 


succeed with the prospect, though, you need to develop a list of questions that
involve the emotions (feelings) of not only the subject, but also the person.
When my brother Kyle was purchasing products for a Chicago sign company, I asked
him what enticed him to buy. I will never forget his response: 
“Whoever talks about my son, Zach…that’s the person that will get
my order!” He lives the old philosophy of “People don’t care about how
much you know until they know how much you care!” This means that you can have
an excellent product with outstanding pricing, but without the proper emotional
questions and concerns of the buyer, you will not succeed! When entering the
office of a new appointment, scrutinize the environment. Is the desk messy, are
their awards hanging on the wall or are there family pictures scattered about?
Many sales people have commented that they stay away from such personalization
because they are afraid that their interest will be misconstrued, risking the
chance of sounding phony. This is true if your interest is not genuine. My point
is that we should all take a genuine interest in others because if your interest
lies solely in the finality of the sale you, will come across as a fake!


questions involve nudging the prospect to ponder outside their work boundaries.
Let us say that, during the appointment, you explained to the prospect how one
hour per day could be saved. You can appeal to the buyer emotionally by
directing this time savings into his personal time account—pointing out that
this additional hour gained could be spent finishing up that other project which
would allow him to finally get home for dinner on time, work on that golf game,
or spend more time coaching his children’s soccer team! Emotional questions
are powerful and allow you to build a rapport, confidence, and trust. They are
also career builders that allow you to develop friendships and a loyal customer


effective emotional questioning requires practice. Write down the questions
ahead of time. A simple close-ended question could be, “How long have you been
purchasing office equipment?” The answer requires a one or two word fact. To
appeal more to the emotions of the buyer ask, “What do you like (or dislike)
most about buying office equipment and why?” You can determine from the
response a good sense of direction for the remainder of the appointment. If the
buyer is new to the position, you may need to spend more time educating him or
her. If the buyer is a veteran, you should “speed up” the process. Sometimes
the experienced buyer is well aware of how they want the buying cycle to
continue. Make sure you load up with fun questions during the appointment by
adding some spice to the typical qualifying questions. Some amazingly easy
questions (and they grab attention) are: “How do you like to be sold, “Are
you the least expensive in your industry” and “Would it help gain approval
if I created a spreadsheet of justifications? Moreover, “What can I do to earn
all of your business?” The likelihood of this actually happening is next to
nil, but it could quite possibly open a completely new avenue of information
involving the purchasing past (why and where did they make the purchase). 


involves a lot of strategy and thinking. Following are Five guidelines to
consider during the appointment:


  1. When
    someone is buying an office product there are six criteria, they will weigh
    out:  quality
    of print/copy, productivity, reliability, versatility, convenience, and
    economy (price). Make sure you find out which ones are the most important.

  2. Compliment
    the prospect on a good question of important concern they have.

  3. Don’t
    explain your product with your jargon. Acronyms such as ADF (Automatic
    Document Feeder), APS (Automatic Paper Selection) and CCD (Charged Coupled
    Device) may be second nature to us, but you may lose the decision maker.


    of inquiring as to what features they are looking for ask about the
    documents they are copying, printing, or faxing. Ask to see them and then
    explain how your system can accommodate them in this area.


    a sight seller and color in your presentation, because key points will be
    more memorable. The use of samples enhances your explanation of digital


use of the buyer’s emotions when qualifying an appointment. We are all members
of the human race and appreciate being understood as well as being interesting,
this is the way we were created. Use this to your advantage, as a successful
sales career is heavily reliant upon relationships. Emotional questioning does
require practice, as well as some keen observations. Mastering these types of
questions along with the factual ones will be beneficial in qualifying and
setting the tone for your visit. Your presentation of the “dessert tray”
during the qualifying process will play upon those hidden emotions of the buyer.


says that you cannot have your cake and eat it too!

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