The Most Important Qualifier During Covid-19

Let’s review: There are six primary areas that you need to qualify a prospect on:

  • Buying motives
  • Red Flags: Why they won’t buy
  • Decision maker(s)
  • Decision process
  • Timeline
  • Budget

Skip any of these and it can come back to sabotage the sale.

Obviously, there is an art to gathering this information, and I’ve written about it extensively in my book, The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts.

But during these uncertain times, which one of these six qualifiers looms most important?


Timeline is the best indicator of a prospect’s seriousness, readiness, and, yes, budget.

Think about it: If a prospect says they want to “make a decision as soon as possible,” then doesn’t that also mean that:

A) A decision has already been made by the powers that be;

B) Budget has already been allocated;

C) A point person (decision maker) is involved in the process; and

D) Clear buying motives have already been established?

Timeline is so important, in fact, that it is often the first question many pros ask of a prospect.

When a new prospect calls my office, for example, and inquires about inside sales training, the first thing I ask is, “When are you looking to begin training?”

The answer to that tells me everything I need to know.

And in today’s Covid-19 environment, with all the uncertainty, timeline is even more important. Because so many companies are “waiting and seeing,” it’s crucial to know who has made a decision to act now, and who is still thinking about it.

So, the next time you are engaged with a prospect, make sure to determine their timeline for getting started with your product or service.

Their answer will give you the answer to four other qualifiers all in one, and let you know who to spend the most time with now…

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