Post by guest blogger Carl Saxon, Business Development Associate, PointClear.
You are going through your normal day and it happens, somebody actually wants to hear what you have to talk about, so you begin to go through your three pain points. The contact says, "Yes, we are experiencing all of those problems." Your heart starts pumping because now you have someone who will listen and has some pain. Being the opportunistic closer you are, you naturally go right for the kill. Using whatever closing line you have created or have been taught, you schedule a call between the contact and the Sales Representative. You now think you have a sales lead, but you have no idea what their environment is at this point.
So you ask, "To what extent do you see this as a priority to resolve?" The contact explains that it is not a pressing issue; it has been like that for years and they have been able to handle it. You now have that uneasy feeling that your lead feels weaker. However, you press on and go for the kill before they bail as you feel the pressure of objection. You then ask, "What role do you play in the evaluation process?" The contact continues to let you down and tells you they are not really involved in evaluations or decisions but would be happy to give the information to their boss. There is still some chance to salvage this. Maybe they are able to influence their boss and you can turn this in to your supervisor as a lead. You ask, "How many employees does your company have?" Your heart is crushed because the number the contact has given falls well below the needed criteria. Fifteen minutes deep into the conversation you have wasted your time. A lead would have never been generated because of the qualifications, but it did not need an entire conversation for this to be determined.
What could have been done differently to determine if this was really a sales prospect? SPIN Selling when performed correctly can be very helpful. The Implication questions can reveal many answers in conjunction with the Need-Payoff. A couple of questions after the Situation and Problem finding could have helped determine the importance of resolving the issues. Finding out what they have done in the past could've helped also. How long has it been a problem? Why have they never resolved it? What would be the benefit of solving such issues?
Fact finding is key. It separates the pros from the amateurs, the lead generators from the appointment setters.
In sales it is always be closing. In lead generation I say always be qualifying. Time is of the essence so keep it moving!