When it comes to lead qualification, one of the most important tasks your sales team must take on is asking the right questions to ensure that they can successfully convert contacts into paying and loyal customers. Creating a standardized lead qualification checklist as a point of reference for your sales team is an excellent way to help them perform their jobs effectively and efficiently. Establishing the key differences between qualified and unqualified leads is the first step in a long and sometimes arduous process. Some sales representatives might have different opinions in regards to what counts as a qualified lead and what doesn’t.
As the business owner, it’s up to you entirely to set the standard for this and make your company objectives as clear as possible to your sales representatives so that they’re given the right tools to achieve optimal results. You should outline all of the most important qualifiers that pertain to your industry as a whole and your business in particular to eliminate the potential for misunderstandings. Keep in mind that the lead qualification process your company employs might not be an industry standard because every business runs under unique operations and what works for others might not necessarily work for you. While it’s always a good idea to observe and learn from the business operations of other corporations, it’s also important to make modifications that suit the specific standards and needs of your business.
How to Qualify a Customer in Sales
With that in mind, here’s a comprehensive and helpful lead qualification checklist you can use as a frame of reference to form your own process:
1. Come up with an appropriate list of lead qualifying questions to ask your customers
Your sales representatives are your primary point of contact with your customers. As such, they have a valuable and unique insight into what your customers are looking for the most and what they hope to get out of your business. Therefore, it makes sense to ask your sales representatives for some input in terms of the types of questions they should be asking existing leads to convert them into bona fide customers. This can also be used as an excellent in-depth training tool for new employees.
2. Establish your business as the leading authority figure in your industry
It’s important to build up an impenetrable amount of trust with your customers so that they trust your business and continue to remain loyal to it. Brand awareness, high-quality service, and excellent products are the epitome of establishing strong business relationships whether it’s B2C or B2B relations. The more knowledgeable and authoritative your sales representatives are, the more customers will trust them as industry experts and bodes very well for your company. Customers like to feel like they’re getting the VIP treatment at all times because it makes them feel special, even if they know that other customers are being treated the same way. The point is to make each and every single one of your customers feel like they’re receiving the best possible customer service.
3. Ask your customers what needs and goals are
Qualifying a lead entails identifying their needs and goals to make sure that they align with those of your business. That way, you can ensure that they’re serious about investing in or supporting your business. It’s also a great way to guarantee that your business fulfills the overall needs of your customers. After all, the business-customer relationship is a mutually inclusive partnership and that means both sides must understand and comply with the demands of the other.
4. Make sure your customers can afford your products or services
Budgets can sometimes be a sore subject with certain clients and it can be especially awkward to ask your potential customers if they can afford the products or services you’re offering. However, it’s in your best interest and the best interest of your customers to make sure from the very beginning that they have sufficient funds to move forward with the business transaction. This will save your leads from future embarrassment and you from a potentially awkward and uncomfortable situation.
5. Make sure the timing is right for both parties
Sometimes, the potential to make a mutually beneficial and lucrative business deal is all about timing. Customers might need a little push in the right direction when it comes to making the right decision. Oftentimes, if they’re on the fence it’s because they’re trying to decide between supporting your business or one of your competitors. Getting to your leads in time and convincing them to work with you instead is challenging, but great salespeople can help your customers see the light.
6. Offer workable solutions for the problems your customers are trying to solve
One of the biggest B2B qualifying questions that salespeople must consider is “What is the problem and how can I solve it?”. Without asking your customers in so many words, you need to try to do everything you can to comprehend the issues they’re facing and then offer the right solutions that pertain to their needs. For instance, if you offer location-based office space rental services and one of your leads needs to rent an office space for a day in their area, then this is an excellent selling point for your business. As long as your salespeople are asking specific questions without getting too invasive, then they should be able to gain a complete understanding of how to better serve your customers over the phone, e-mail, and live chat.
7. Support your sales team as much as possible
Your employees are the backbone of your business, especially the ones who serve as the main point of contact for your customers. Within reason, you should encourage and empower them to create customized solutions to help qualify leads, convert them into paying customers, and retain their business.
Whatever customer service techniques and protocols your business has in place, 3C Contact Services is here to support you. We’ve helped numerous small- and medium-sized businesses attract and retain high-quality clientele through excellent lead qualification and customer service. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help improve your lead qualification strategies!