How to Qualify for Interest

Today it seems to be harder and harder for sales reps to qualify for interest and to identify buying motives.

One thing making this so difficult is the decision tree: often there are many different levels of decision makers (committees, bosses, regional managers, corporate, etc.), and sales reps often just skip any attempt to qualify for interest.

Instead, they just send their information or schedule their demo and hope for the best.

As you might suspect, the way around this is to be prepared with scripted questions that are assumptive in nature and that lead your prospect to reveal what the buying motives (or motivation in general) are for the various other departments and decision makers.

Use the following scripts (or customize them to fit your product or service), so you can gain an understanding of what the buying motives are and how to tailor your pitch to each group to close the sale:

Qualifying Question #1:

“ _________, why did you (or corporate/manager/boss) choose the solution you’re using now?”

Layer:

“And what are you (they) looking to improve upon now?”

Qualifying Question #2:

“If you were to pick one thing that would be a deal killer if it weren’t there, what would it be?”

Qualifying Question #3:

“What have you heard they’re (corporate, their manager, boss, etc.) specifically looking for in the next (your product or service)?”

Qualifying Question #4:

“Besides price, what else is important (to you, them, etc.)?”

Qualifying Question #5:

“I know that these (your solution) may seem to be all the same, but tell me, what will stand out for you…what’s the one or two things you’re really hoping to see?”

Qualifying Question #6:

“_________, what have you heard in terms of what the priorities are for adding this (your product/service)?

Layer:

“And what is the timeframe you’re hearing for implementation?”

Qualifying Question #7:

“Out of all the companies you’ve (or corporate/manager/boss) has seen so far, what looks the best to you?”

Layer:

“And why is that?”

Qualifying Question #8:

“If you had to pick one thing that this is going to come down to – you know, one thing that you think will be the deciding factor as to who you’ll (corporate/manager/boss) choose, what do you think that will be?”

Layer:

“Besides price, what’s next?”

Qualifying Question #9:

“__________, you haven’t made a change so far, just out of curiosity, what is motivating you to consider doing so now?”

Qualifying Question #10:

“__________, I know I called you out of the blue; I’m glad you’re interested in seeing what we have. Quick question for you, though: What do you think it will take to convince the (corporate/manager/boss)?”

I bet you can think of some of your own, can’t you?

The key to any sale is getting your prospect to tell you how to sell them. If you can do that, you’ll make your job much, much easier.

Ten Ways to Soften the Price Objection and Keep Pitching

Many sales reps get thrown off their pitch when a prospect objects to something early on during the close.

For example, if when talking about the price of a product or service, the prospects says something like, “Oh, that’s way too much,” many sales reps don’t know how to respond – and often do the wrong thing.

The wrong thing in this case is to stop and try to overcome the objection. Instead, a sales rep should retain control of the call, soften this objection and move on to build more value.

Here’s an example:

If a price or price range is given (say, anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000), and the prospect objects with, “That’s more than we want to spend,” then instead of stopping and trying to overcome the objection (which only gives control to the prospect and throws you off your momentum), you should respond with any of the following:

Response One:
“That’s only a range, and I’ll explain how that works in just a moment…”

Then continue on with your pitch.

Response Two:
“There are some other options, but first let me explain how this works and how it can impact you (or your company or other departments, etc.).”

Then continue on with your pitch.

Response Three:
“Based on what you know now, it may seem like a lot, but let me get through exactly what you get for this…”

Then continue on with your pitch

Response Four:
“_________, you obviously don’t have to go with this at all, and I’m not asking you to make a decision right now. Instead, let me finish explaining how this works, what you get, and how it might work for you (or your company, etc.).

After that, you’ll be in a position to decide what to do next, fair enough?”

Response Five:
“Let’s put the budget aside for a moment and first see if this is a solution that would even work for you. What I’ll do is explain everything to you, answer your questions, and then we can address whether or not it provides the value to justify the investment, O.K.?”

Response Six:
“The budget and the value this provides is quite worth it – as you’ll see. Let me finish explaining how this works and what my other clients are getting out of it, then you can decide what – if anything – you want to do. Now…”

Continue on with your pitch.

Response Seven:
“Let’s put budget aside for a moment and let me show you how this can positively affect what you’re spending now…”

Back to your pitch

Response Eight:
“I know at this point it might seem like a lot, but I guarantee once you understand the whole picture, you’ll easily see the value here…”

Back to your pitch

Response Nine:
“_________, those are only the price ranges and what you decide to ultimately spend will be entirely your decision and based only on whether you see enough benefit to move forward. Let me show you…”

Back to your pitch

Response Ten:
“_________ until we qualify your business, we won’t know what your payment options are, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What I recommend is we go through the approval process and then you can decide if this is worth it for you or not – fair enough?”

Remember, the point here is not to get thrown off early in your pitch just because a prospect objects to the price. Instead, you want to maintain control, build value and get buy in during the close.

And you can do this by using one of the rebuttals above to soften the objection.

How to Handle the “Status Quo” Objection

As you know, I often get emails from readers of my ezine, “Secrets of the Top 20%”, asking me how I would handle various selling situations and objections.

Someone sent in a request asking me how to deal with the, “We are used to the status quo and don’t want to make waves” objection. This reader also wrote that he had been told by another training company that he needed to, “Make them painfully aware of something they don’t see coming at them (like a freight train) and develop a more compelling message.”

As you might imagine, he wasn’t able to come up with anything that was working.

By the way, I must comment here that I frequently hear this about other “sales training” companies: they are quick to offer what sounds like good advice, but they don’t provide the specific solutions to back it up.

As you know from reading my ezines, watching my YouTube videos or reading or listening to my books and CD’s, I not only tell you what to you, but also how to do it.

In this case, I think the reader was having trouble with this technique because, to begin with, it’s not a good approach.

Trying to convince someone that what they’re doing is a bad idea and it’s going to lead to big trouble (so you can say, “I told you so” later), isn’t going to endear you to anyone. What I recommend instead is to find a way to bypass this obvious initial resistance and find a way present your product or service in a non-threatening way.

Your goal on the prospecting call isn’t to overcome objections (which this isn’t, by the way), but rather, to qualify and set a date up to demo your product or service.

Here are some sample scripts to help you do just that:

Objection: “We are used to the status quo and don’t want to make waves…”

Approach One:

“I’m completely with you and believe me, I don’t want to rock the boat. But because things change all the time, there might come an instance when you need to consider your options. So let’s do this: I’ll set a time to give you a brief demo of what we do and how it might help you.

After we do, you can then decide if you want to do anything with it now, or keep it in your back pocket in case you ever need to consider a different source – sound good?”

Approach Two:

“I understand and I’ll try not to make too many waves here. Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you did compare services and pricing – you know, just to keep current on what’s available to you?”

Approach Three:

“I’m with you and believe me – I’m not here to cause trouble. But let me ask you this: isn’t it wise to at least know about your options just in case you need to make a change at some time in the future?”

Approach Four:

“I’m with you. So tell you what: instead of me trying to sell you something, let me just educate you on what’s currently available in the marketplace – you know, so in case you need something further down the line, you’ll know who to call – make sense?”

Approach Five:

“No problem, I fully understand. Let me ask you this though: If something were to happen to your current provider, wouldn’t you at least want a dependable backup plan so you didn’t miss a beat?”

The point of these rebuttals is to bypass this resistance so you can get in front of a qualified lead and pitch your product or service. Obviously, once they agree to do a demo with you, you’ll want to ask other qualifying questions.

As always, I encourage you to practice, drill and rehearse your responses so you can internalize them and deliver them in a natural way.

Could you nominate me?

Would you take a minute to nominate me for the AA-ISP’s “Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals for 2016”?

If you’ve benefitted from either the scripts, videos or other products I offer, then I would really appreciate it if you did.

Simply follow this link: Click Here

You’ll need this information:

First Name: Mike

Last Name: Brooks

Company: Mr. Inside Sales

Title: President

E-mail: Mike@mrinsidesales.com

Phone: (919) 267-4202

Thanks for your support and remember to send me any objections or stalls you get so I can provide you with customized scripting and rebuttals so you can sell more with less rejection!

All the success in the world,

Mike Brooks

How to Qualify an Influencer

If this were a perfect world, when prospecting and qualifying we would always get to speak with the decision maker and, while questioning them, we would discover that they were looking for our solution, and that they have the budget and authority to make a decision. Furthermore, when asked about their timeline for making a decision, they would reply, “Can you get it here yesterday?”

Too bad we don’t live in a perfect world…

Instead, it’s more likely these days that we don’t get right through to the decision maker – or to that mysterious “committee” that is going to decide at some undisclosed point in the future – instead, there are usually some layers to go through first, before our product or service can finally get to the right set of eyes.

Usually the person standing in the way of the final decision maker is an influencer – someone who might weigh in on the decision but who doesn’t have the final authority to make the ultimate decision.

Now here’s the key: just because an influencer doesn’t have the authority to make the final decision, that’s not to say they don’t know other crucial information that might help you navigate the decision tree and ultimately make a sale.

Unfortunately, many sales reps are terrible at vetting or qualifying the influencer, so they just send their information and then hope for the best.

If you follow the advice below, you will not only know how to get this crucial information, but you’ll also separate yourself from 90% of the other sales reps who just don’t know how to qualify influencers properly.

Questions to ask: Even though your influencer might not be the final decision maker, they often have some insight into what the decision is looking for, or what their interest in your product or service is.

Because this is true more times than it isn’t, you must always ask any of the following questions to get this insight. If the person you’re talking to is hiding behind the real decision maker, then ask things like:

“_________, you probably work quite closely with (the decision maker), tell me, how open are they to adding (your product or solution)?”

OR

“_________, in terms of what you know, what is their (the decision maker or committee’s) timeline for putting something like this into effect?”
OR

“What other solutions are they considering right now?”

AND

“How do you get involved in the decision on something like this?”

OR

“How much influence (or input) do you have on the final decision?”

AND

“How closely do you work with (the decision maker or committee)?”

[If they are involved]:

“What are you recommending they do?”

OR

“From what we’ve just gone over, do you think this is something that would work for them?”

AND

“Give me your thoughts on how (the decision maker) is going to decide who to pick for this”

OR

“From what you know, what is (the decision maker) looking for in a solution like this?”

AND

“Given what you know about the urgency for making this decision, how soon do you think they will decide on a solution?”

AND

“In terms of budget, what are they thinking?”

AND

“From your perspective, what is involved in their decision process?”

OR
“How many other vendors are they going to look at before they make a decision?”

AND

“From the other companies they’ve looked at, who are they leaning towards now?”

AND

“Is the company they’re using now still in the running?”

AND

“How likely do you think they’ll just use the same company they’re using now?”

AND

“What do you think it will take for them to choose a different solution from who they’re using now?”

AND

“Is there any reason you can see that they wouldn’t move forward with something like this?”

AND

“Is there anything you can think of that I should know that’s important for them in making this decision?”

AND

“What do you think I need to do to have the best shot of earning their business?”

As you can see, there are many areas and many questions you can ask which will give you tremendous insight into the sales process – if you just ask.

Is the influencer going to know any or all of this? Of course not! But, again, more times than not, they’ll know a lot more than you might think.

And if you begin asking some of these questions, you will know it, too!