How to Qualify a Sales Prospect

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Anyone Seen My Buyer?

Anyone Seen My Buyer?

Chasing sales quotes, that all important following up the sales quote, now let me ask you this: how much of your very valuable time do you waste chasing sales quotes? 

How much does it wind you up that you even have to chase sales prospects to place the order once you’ve done all the hard work?

Why do buyers make sales follow up so hard for you?

Once you’ve gone though the whole sales cycle.

When you know the sales prospect has a reason to buy from you.

When you’ve done a benefits analysis.

Presented the Return on Investment for them.

Then they disappear.

No response to your sales follow up…

Gone.

Straight off the face of the earth.

Plus, your sales forecast now looks like fiction. Better yet, your sales manager is looking at you like your desk belongs to someone else, or will do shortly!

All because the buyer didn’t play ball when you followed up your sales quote.

We’ve all been there.

It’s a reality with a real pain point for lots of sales people at some point in their career.

Following up the sales quote should be the easy bit…right?

Nope. Think again!

Consider this:

What percentage of your sales pipeline and your sales forecast just disappear into the sales black hole every month, or every quarter?

How many good solid deals sales orders you thought were nailed on,  actually just fail to make contact with you when it comes to signing and getting the order form back to you?

And how much time, and how many calls do you make chasing deals you know you should get, if only the buyer would do their bit as agreed?

And what would it mean to you to be able to get rid of this problem once and for all?

Curious?

Read on, because chasing sales quotes should be the rarity not the norm. So if you do find yourself being ghosted by your buyer when chasing sales quotes, then something needs to change.

Fast.

Chasing Sales Quotes: The Truth About Following Up the Sales Quote.

It’s a job you have to do. Chasing the sales paperwork is part of that job, but really, should you need all those phone calls, the emails, the conversations with their secretary?

But you console yourself because this is the final sales push, you simply have to do it because it’s the last thing you need to do before you get the order.

And, its a quick call. How much trouble is it to place a quick call to follow up that sales quote?

You’ve done all the hard work, you just need to clear the paper work and get the signature.

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah…..

But you know what?

I hate it.

I hate it when a sales person tells me they’ve sent the quote and will chase tomorrow.

Even more, I hate it because at that point I know (and the sales person knows) that the buyer might just go AWOL.

And that the best follow up to the best sales quote might still come to nothing.

It happens.

Now, ideally, you’d have closed on the day (making the sales follow up redundant), got the order form signed, shaken hands and just scanned a copy to the buyer for their files. That’s how it should be done.

But, sometimes that’s just not possible.

So the buyer has a chance to disappear!

All you hard work hanging there…and you’re still chasing sales quotes, getting zero response.

It’s Not Always Bad News…

No, of course not. Some sales prospects do really get abducted by aliens. Others find a new religion. Some win the lottery and some even (I know this is tough to hear) will go with another provider…

But the truth is the disappearing buyer is such a pain because it’s cost so much to get the buyer to that stage of quoting.

You see, the buyer is bailing at the wrong end of the sales funnel. The expensive end!

By the time the sales prospect is at this stage in the sales cycle they have cost you a small fortune, plus lost time and depending on your average sales order value and the duration of your sales cycle, they may also have cost you an  unidentifiable sum in terms of opportunity costs…

It’s a nightmare.

The skill – to save time, sanity, money is to get the buyer to bail early on, so if you are following up sales quotes then you know your dealing with serious buyers, professional buyers who are on the same page as you, respectful of your time and efforts.

The second nugget…is give yourself the choice to decide the sales prospect is got of good character, likely to disappear, and attune your sales actions accordingly.

And make these decisions early.

The earlier the better.

Right at the beginning of the sales process ideally.

That way, you’ll know, that by the time you have the buyer at the chasing sales quotes stage, that you are actually both on the same page.

And you won’t need to do any chasing at all!

How to Avoid Having to Chase Sales Quotes EVER!

It’s simple.

Just put yourself in a position where you don’t need to be chasing sales quotes. Just stop it!

Check this out. It’s our Sales Improvement Workshop – How To Sell a No-Brainer – How High Performing Sales Teams Close More Sales

Because it’s the fastest way to discover how to avoid putting yourself in a situation where the buyer can give you the runaround. Ever again!

And listen up because this is a key area where sales people create their own living hell.

Stuck in a loop of following up sales quotes, chasing sales prospects who are avoiding you, distracting you from filling your sales pipeline, progressing good prospects through your sales funnel.

And, you can avoid this pitfall so easily, just by giving yourself sales information and choice.

For example, some sales people, not you obviously,  take sales prospects through the whole sales process, investing heaps of time, money and wisdom, when the prospect REALLY should have been rejected at the beginning of the sales process.

Yep, some sales people don’t ask the tough questions at the beginning of the sales process. The tough but fair questions that would define the QUALITY of the sales prospect.

For some reason, they feels it’s ok to load all the hard sales graft until the end of the sales process…crazy! Don’t put all your focus on having a great sales quote follow up process right at the end of the interaction.

Qualify that sales prospect in or out the sales funnel. Right at the very start of the sales process. Before it’s too late.

Don’t be one of those hit and run sales people who don’t use BANT as often, diligently, effectively as they should.

Because you know what?

Following up sales quotes is high risk. It costs lots of money. And it’s not always successful.

AND a serious buyer is expecting you to ask those questions in BANT!

As well as many other information gathering and sales profiling questions.

And you lose heaps of credibility with the sales prospect when you DON’T ask those questions.

If you’re not asking those qualifying sales questions of the prospect, you’re telling him you’re not serious about your role, so you’ve given him permission to not be serious either!

Think about that. You’ve given the prospect permission to yank your chain and mess you about!

You’ve given him permission to ignore you when your following up the sales quote.

Why would you do that?

At the very minimum, the absolute minimum, you should use BANT.

Sales people who don’t BANT, or they BANT weakly, which means just checking the prospect has a pulse! (for more details on BANT hit this link – More About BANT), typically complain the most about their buyers going AWOL during the sales process.

Sales people are masters of their own fortune…if only they chose to exercise that right! And that doesn’t mean chasing sales prospects who don’t think you even deserve a response!

Look, even when some sales people that do BANT, uncovering a less than perfect prospect, they will often put up with less than perfect answers because they fear what will happen if they get stringent with the sales criteria they use….oh no, an empty sales pipeline!!!

Nightmare.

But have some self respect here. Protect you, your time, resources, skills.

So, instead of a night mare instead I prefer to look on it as a blessing, because now  we know that, we all focus our time and attention on Perfect Prospects and leave our competitors to pick up the ‘almost fits’.

Let the competition take the costly risky prospects and try and make them fit.

But some sales people see being choosy about who they sell to as bad news.

I don’t, I just see it as now I have free resource to invest in worthy prospects…

In a nutshell…if your prospect is going AWOL after you’ve done the hard work, then the buyer was never really a buyer. The prospect was never really serious about buying. And, all you’ve done is educate him.

Do you get paid for being an advice line? Is that how you earn your sales bonus?

You made a bad prospect call and you’ve wasted your time…and you won’t get bonus.

What more incentive do you need to change your mode of operation and get wise to the time wasters in your sales funnel.

Oh, and your sales pipeline is falling apart around your ears (sound familiar?) Well, it just adds insult to injury.

Sales Winner Don’t Waste Time Chasing Sales Quotes

Sales Winners close hard on the day and then leave it.

When sales winners close hard, they know that the buyer is onside and is serious about buying.

Plus, when sales winners close hard, their buyer is expecting them to close hard. The buyer is serious too, he expects the sales person to be the same.

Chasing sales quotes excessively is for losers. Just remember that.

Why would you want to sales stalk a prospect who had no interest in engaging with you?

Are you a Sad Sales Stalker?

Sales Winners read the signs and move on.

But you can only do that if you’ve closed hard all along the sales process.

Following up each of your prospect contacts with some level of mutual advancement towards the logical conclusion. An order.

Because a sales close doesn’t happen at the end of the sales process.

Closing a sale happens all through the sales process – from the first interaction and in every interaction. Moving commitment on at every step, sales advancement at it’s best (as opposed to ‘just touching base’)

You can only do a hard close if you’ve made one unshakable decision. You’ve decided and committed to qualify at every stage of the sales process.

This alone means you’ll never be left with handfuls of sales quotes to follow up.

Have you been closing hard all through the sales process?

Do you close at each stage so that the buyer understands what you’re doing?

Chasing Sales Quotes and Winning

This process of continual qualification relies on you knowing the following very early on in the sales process

  • That your buyer is the sign off guy and not the influencer/referrer
  • Your Buyer will line up the budget he needs to buy from you
  • The buyer is suffering from a problem you can solve, and therefore has a big need
  • That you have the skills and backup to solve this problem better than anyone else that the buyer is talking to
  • That the buyer’s need is sufficiently painful for him to invest money in having you provide a solid solution
  • Where they need to sort a solution within a predicted time span because the cost of not doing this would cause even more pain and increased financial cost
  • That they have an ideal time frame for solving the problem, and satisfying the need
  • When they have shared the decision making process with you
  • They’ve shared the buying criteria with you
  • So that you understand the stakeholders involved, their agendas, the potential competitors, and any external factors that could disrupt the buying process
  • Where you understand the criteria your solution will be judged against…and by whom, and when
  • That you understand what event/s could disrupt the buying/decision making process

Here’s a sobering thought…if your buyer is not prepared to share this information with you, then you’ve got yourself a tyre kicker. You deserve everything you get if you pursue the sale…feel free to wrap up as much wasted time as you like in following up worthless sales quotes

If you haven’t got the bottle to ask the tough questions…again, you will suffer the consequences of that course of action, so see above

Disappearing Buyers Go AWOL For a Reason

Don’t let the reason your buyer goes AWOL when you’re chasing the quote be because they used your proposal to batter down the quote from their incumbent.

Or they used you to yank their current supplier back into line

Maybe, they just wanted to pick your brain.

Or maybe the buyer wanted to pass your quote to a competitor.

Maybe even worse, just thought it might be interesting for you to pull together all the info they needed to inform the board regarding what solutions are out there…

Now if you fell for any of those buyer tricks – you really are a mug.

Get yourself booked on How to Sell – How High Performing Sales Team Close Business

If you’re investing in the buyer and the buying/selling process, make sure it’s not all one sided and you’ll never need to chase a sales quote ever again.

Happy Selling

Carol

0779 002 1885

carol@mortonkyle.com

P.S. you can subscribe to our free Advanced Business Achiever. You’ll get weekly sales and business development insights directly into your inbox (all SPAM free). It’s great for sales coaching, sales mentoring and sales training, daily briefings. Just try it out, just hit the link, there is an unsubscribe button if it’s not for you…

P.P.S. if you’re looking for sales training or sales support to increase your sales team results – call for a confidential chat…

And if you really want to increase your sales results – check out TurboCharged Sales and I know chasing sales quotes won’t be an issue for you…

Final chance – Don’t Be a Creepy Sales Stalker … 

Instead spend your time chasing sales quotes that are worth it, and get rid of following up sales quotes just because you didn’t qualify hard and fast at the beginning of the sales cycle.

Why Sales BANT is Not Enough

Why Sales BANT is Not Enough

What is Sales BANT?

BANT is covered in almost every article on how to close good quality sales, appointments, demonstrations, meetings.

For those that haven’t come across it before here’s the basic premise – the person you’re engaging in the sales process needs to be qualified against the following profile

Budget – are they the budget holder? Is the budget available for this purchase providing the solution satisfied the need?

Authority – does this person have the authority to make the decision to buy? r are they a referrer, or person of influence?

Need – is there a need for what you are selling? Has this need been sufficiently quantified as being big enough to justify an investment

Timing – has the timing been agreed? Providing the solution is suitable to satisfy the need, has the sign date been agreed?

A typical BANT usage might be something like this…

Ok, Mr Buyer, just so I get some insight into how we’ll proceed can I just ask you, have you already got budget signed off for this purchase or does it need to go to the board? (Budget)

Great, and will it be your decision alone as to buy from me, or will you be making broader recommendations to the board? (Authoity)

Ok, understand, we’ve agreed that our solution can deliver what you need in terms of X, Y, Z, we agreed those are the critical and crucial criteria for you going ahead, and that our solution will alleviate the issues we’ve identified in X, Y, Z? (Need)

Excellent, and further to (the next action) you’ll be able to send the purchase order number across so we can get delivery for the week after next. (Timing)

Excellent thank you.

Obviously, this is a top line BANT summary. I encourage sales professionals to use BANT all though the sales process.

We cover it in more detail in all of our sales training courses and sales coaching programs. You can contact me for more details on carol@mortonkyle.complus it’s a subject we regularly reference in The Advanced Business Achiever – just hit the link for your free copy

Magnify the Power of Sales BANT

BANT is only part of the story. It’s an important part. However, on it’s own the power of BANT is very restricted, it’s a shout into the wilderness. It’s one hand clapping.

Very simply, BANT tells you that you are in the right position(or not) and you’re talking to the right person (or not) and you have some steer on the buying/decision making process. This is really important when you’re chasing quotes, really important. Ask anyone who has been randomly chasing the prospect who disappears once the quote has been sent. Hit this link  Anyone Seen My Buyer? – if you want to have buyers chasing you to buy from you

So how do you really amp the power of BANT?

You do this…

You combine BANT with Sales ROI (for more details on Sales ROI just hit this link to discover how High Performing Sales people work Sales ROI)

How to Combine Sales BANT and Sales ROI

Concentrating just on the Needs section in BANT.

Need is the most powerful motivator for change. Whether that’s to amend behaviours, persuade someone to buy a product/service or simply make different choices…

Those decisions are all driven by need. The bigger the need, the faster, easier, more compliant the buyer will be during the buying process

So, if you can create a powerful enough need with your buyer, then you have a huge motivator to use with your buyer to help them select to take action. To take action fast. That makes a big difference, especially if you’re working in a highly competitive space (and who isn’t working in a competitive market?)

8 Key Ways to Increase the NEED Factor in BANT Using Sales ROI

  • Fully explore the current ‘pain’ points associated with the current solution
  • Explore what those pain points have cost the buyer in the past
  • Extrapolate, realistically, what those pain points could cost the buyer in the future if nothing changes (this is the cost of doing nothing)
  • Remember that the pain could be pain other than financial. It could be stress, loss of clients, brand damage, reputation, ill will among colleagues who have to pick up and solve the same problems again and again or failure to comply with authority etc
  • Once you’ve fully explored the past and future costs, add them together…that can be quite the motivator in itself!!
  • Next, look at some blue sky thinking. Note – you’d be totally weakening your NEED factor if you look at the blue sky scenario building before exploring the pain, since people will typically do more to escape pain than seek pleasure.
  • Knowing the Pain/Pleasure Principle, check out some what if questions…what would it mean to your business if you could do X? What would it mean if you never had to deal with that again? How would you feel if you could illuminate that issue all together? What would that mean to your bottom line? What would that mean to your work relations? Your client relations? Whatever is relevant…
  • Next, go back to the pain position and summarise the cost of doing nothing.

So, when you come to ask your Need based questions in BANT, they might sound something like this…

Ok, understand, we’ve agreed that our solution can deliver what you need in terms of increasing your brand reputation with your customers after some of the issues you’ve had before, will allow you to have total confidence in the promises you make to your customers, and will really improve the relationships in the warehouse and customer service teams since they won’t be taking as many complaint calls… we agreed those are the critical and crucial criteria for you going ahead, and that our solution will alleviate the issues we’ve identified in losing the X account at Xmillion per yr, losing part of the Y contract at Y million per yr and having the Z tender going back out to review? 

See how powerful that statement is now you’ve fully quantified the prospects position if they do nothing?

(As a separate aside, just consider how easy it is to chase a quote once you’ve identified this level of need!)

Why Does Using Sales ROI with BANT Help You?

Because using one without the other is just one hand clapping. You’re going through the motions but nothings really happening, compared to what could be happening!

If you’ve gone to the trouble of speaking with the key decision maker, then the next task is to motivate them to take action. BECAUSE motivated buyers take action, they take action quickly, and they see value (which helps you protect your margins)

Some people might call it persuasion, and that’s ok, but either way, think of it as making it easy for the prospect to say yes! Making it easy for the prospect to make a decision. Making it even easier for the prospect to make a fast decision (because that means your competitor can’t sneak in at that last minute!)

That way you’ll be creating a real no-brainer sales proposition…and let’s face it, who says no to the no-brainer proposition?

What’s Next?

Try it out.

You’ll wonder how you ever closed without it. You’ll also start to understand why some of your sales didn’t close when/how they should.

Happy Selling…enjoy!

Carol

0779 002 1885

carol@mortonkyle.com

P.S. If you want to get sales and business development insights into your inbox weekly. Stuff like this to help you with your sales pitch, maybe sales coaching, daily sales huddle or sales meetings. Sign up here for The Advanced Business Achiever – totally free (and SPAM free). Give it a try, you’ll definitely get some benefit. It’s a nice little fast read digest of hints and tips to help improve sales results and sales performance…

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