Like you, I get calls every week from inside sales reps trying to sell me their products and services. I used to just hang up on them, noting that I wasn’t missing much as most inside sales people are just not that good at engaging, listening, building rapport, etc. Lately, however, I’ve been listening more, realizing that I can learn just as much from a bad call as I can from a good one. Recently, I received a qualifying call from an appointment setter, and it turned out to be a fresh approach I’d not heard before. It also wasn’t that bad…
Here’s what happened: The call I received was from a company selling some sort of oil drilling private placement investment. For those of you unfamiliar with these, this is the kind of investment that a private company can sell directly to an individual investor. In other words, the company usually (and I use “usually” very loosely – check with your individual state governing body) doesn’t have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and so can “usually” avoid a ton of administrative and regulatory red tape. But…
The big “but” here is that this type of investment vehicle can “usually” only be offered to, and sold to, what is known as an “accredited” investor, meaning someone who has at least a one million dollar net worth and income in excess of $200,000.
The company who contacted me is using a “qualifier” whose job it is to call and qualify people as an accredited investor before any sales rep speaks with them. This is a good strategy and one I’d not heard of before. Here’s how it went down:
Caller: “Hi, my name is Sonya, and I’m calling with the ABC Oil and Gas company here in North Carolina, am I speaking with Mike Brooks?”
Me: “Ah, yes…”
Caller: “Mike, this is not a sales call at all, and I only have two quick questions for you and then I’ll go, O.K.?”
Me: “Ah…sure, go ahead.”
Caller: “We have in our records that you are an accredited investor with a net worth of at least one million dollars, right?”
Caller: “And is your income still at least $200,000 or over?”
Caller: “O.K., great. One of our representatives will be in touch with you in the next few days. Good day…”
And that was it. She was gone almost as quickly as she appeared. And in the span of just a few moments, she had qualified me enough to pass me on (as a lead) to one of the closers. Very interesting. Let’s break down why this was so effective:
#1: She make sure she was speaking to the decision maker before she continued, “Am I speaking to Mike Brooks?”
#2: She sensed my hesitancy and immediately had a reply for it: “Mike this is not a sales call at all…”
#3: Next, she earned the right to ask just two questions because she then said she would be off the phone: “I only have two quick questions for you and then I’ll go, O.K.?”
#4: Then she qualified me for the two most important criteria in her sale – net worth and income.
#5: The ending was interesting. She told me that someone else would be following up, and before I could object, she hung up.
I’m not saying I love this call or hate it; I’m just impressed by how bold it was in qualifying, and how quickly she was able to generate a lead and then pass it on. Obviously, these two qualifiers are crucial to know before one of their sales rep gets involved, and this turned out to be an effective way to do it.
Now, how could you use this technique? First, if you work with appointment setters, lead gen reps or qualifiers, then pick out the two most important qualifications and then use the script above to create your pitch. Here are three examples:
If you’re selling lead or marketing services, it could be: 1) “Do you handle the lead-generation for marketing?” And 2) “If you plan to compare services or companies in the next quarter, would you be the one to speak with?”
If you’re selling online advertising, it could be: 1) “How much do you get involved in the online advertising decisions?” And 2) “Are you open to at least knowing about options to improve your current results while perhaps also saving money?”
If you’re selling real estate, it could be: 1) “Are you the home owner?” And 2) “Do you have any plans to consider selling your home in the next 12 months?”
You get the idea. Almost any product or service has a couple of key questions that a qualifier can ask to pre-qualify a lead. And the best part of this script is that it takes under a minute! Again, you’re on and then off with a prospect very quickly.
And, as I found, the prospect is left somewhat expecting the next call – whether they want it or not…
So, what are the two most important qualifiers for your sale?