Let me ask you a question: Do all of your leads end up buying?
Of course not.
Next question: Out of ten leads that you set up to pitch a demo to, how many of those ten end up buying?
If you said “two” then you are at the industry average. Now consider what that really means: It means that out of ten closes you attempt, eight are not going to buy!
Now think about all the time and energy you spend trying to close a lead that is never going to buy anyway. Think about all the time and effort you spend following up, chasing, sending emails and leaving voice mails. It’s no wonder most sales people go home exhausted at the end of the week and are discouraged when they come into work on Monday and look at their list of prospects to call back…
I used to be one of those discouraged sales reps until I learned about disqualifying prospects rather than qualifying them.
This was a crucial attitude shift that changed my career. Think about it: 80% of sales reps are desperate to “fill their pipelines,” and will send out just about anybody with the pulse just so they have someone to pitch later on. Companies and sales managers train them in this way (“It’s a numbers game,” they claim.), and then sales reps spend their time chasing unqualified leads, getting rejected, practicing poor sales skills, and becoming discouraged.
It’s sad, but that’s how 80% of your competition spend their sales careers. This leads to poor morale, upset managers, and a lot of turn over.
Top sales reps, however, would never think of sending out unqualified leads, and instead eliminate prospects who don’t fit their strict criteria of a buyer. Top sales reps would rather disqualify a lead than put barely qualified leads into their pipeline just so they have someone to pitch.
And because of this, top sales reps send out (or set up) the fewest leads (appointments, demos, presentations, etc.) in the office. But the important thing is they have the highest closing rates and their paychecks tend to be higher.
So what does “disqualifying” prospects really mean? It means pausing and questioning the “red flags” they get, rather than ignoring them and hoping they go away. It means having and following a “qualifying checklist,” and asking the tough questions about budget, buying motives, competition, timelines, decision makers and decision processes.
When a top rep is done generating a lead, they can tell you why the prospect will buy, what potential objections may come up, and in many cases they’ve already asked trial closes and can tell you when the prospect will buy and what the process will entail.
If you’re sitting at your desk right now, staring at a list of prospects you have to call back, then you know the difference between just setting appointments to pitch and disqualifying out the non-buyers and setting up truly qualified leads and demos.
And now you have a choice to make. You can either keep creating and chasing unqualified leads, or you can step up to the plate and start asking the tough questions and truly disqualify out leads that are just going to waste your time and not buy at the end of your demo.
The sooner you do that, the sooner your closing percentage will go up, your energy level and attitude will go up, and your income will go up. And that pretty much describes top sales producers.