"How To Qualify Prospects" Sales Advice by @Steli

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hey guys this is steli efti with flows

out today I want to talk about

qualifying and why it's the key to

success in sales and how to exactly do

it right how to qualify prospects and

leads successfully so why is qualifying

the key to success in sales number one

if you qualify what well maybe let's

step back what is qualifying even

qualifying means that you understand

your product or service and you

understand your customer and market well

enough to know when someone is a match

enough good fit for your product and

when they are not like when should a

customer buy and when shouldn't they buy

because it's very unlikely that you're

going to be the right solution for

everyone at anytime anywhere right

there's going to be restrictions there's

going to be a market or vertical a niche

a type of customer that you can service

really really well and create a lot of

value for there's going to be customers

and people in companies that are outside

your sweet spot and where you're just

not the right tool for them when you

qualify somebody what that means is that

before you're trying to actually close

them and pitch them on your solution

first you take a little bit of time to

understand them their business the

market their pain points better to the

point where you can actually make a

judgment call if it's actually worth

selling them in the first place or not

so number one why should you why is

qualifying really crucial to success at

sales number one you're going to not be

wasting time on people and prospects and

leads that will never buy or should

never buy right and sales is such a

output driven activity that if you're

spending lots and lots of time with

unqualified buyers and people that are

not able to buy not capable of buying

not able to make a decision or should

not buy your product because it's not

the right solution you're going to be

wasting a ton of time that you could

focus on and directing towards things

that can produce successful outcomes so

you're going to be wasting a lot of time

as you don't qualify people you're going

to be pitching people prematurely and I

made a whole video about the the

pitching prematurely effect and how to

throw darts in the dark versus actually

understanding your targets and the pain

points of your customer as well enough

so that when you pitch them you hit and

you actually succeed with the pitch so

when you don't understand your customers

don't understand their needs when you

haven't qualified them you're not going

to be able to pitch them effectively so

more likely than not you're going to be

pitching them prematurely start selling

them on something without knowing if

that something is the right way to pitch

them on and then you're going to be you

know having all kinds of bad surprises

like have you ever had that when

yourself or somebody in your sales team

said I'm gonna have this great deal

that's going to close next week and the

next week you're like so what happened

and they're like well something came up

and expectedly in we still have to go

through legal procurement or some other

buying process there's no

surprises there's just bad qualifying

you didn't ask all the questions to

really understand not only the customer

but all the buying process so you didn't

know that all these steps would be

involved so you probably had wrong and

bad expectations on when the deal would

close so you have all kinds of

forecasting issues or somebody says well

this is going to be a hundred thousand

dollar deal and then they close the deal

in it's a ten thousand dollar deal like

well I kind of sumed it would be a huge

thing well assuming means you haven't

qualified correctly if you qualify them

rightly you would know exactly what to

expect in terms what the deal size is

for this deal and what the timeline is

for it and then you know what one of the

worst effects if you don't qualify is

you're going to be closing bad deals

you're going to be closing people on

your solution that should never buy your

solution and now you think why do I care

this is sales I sold them I made money

who cares well a lot of people care and

it's going to have a really tremendous

impact not only on your career on your

quality of life but also in your

business in general because if you're

closing bad deals these people create a

lot of support requests these people

would create a lot of bad faith they're

going to be tweeting and social media

all day about like how shitty your

solution is we're going to ask for a

refund they're going to cause all kinds

of commotions and negative energy and

negative karma and usually if you're in

a business like ours where it's a

subscription-based service you can even

close bad deals because they're gonna

cancel next month it's going to destroy

your business so personally if you

actually qualify and you qualify well

here's all the benefits that you're

gonna have as a sales person in a sales

organization number one you will know

who to focus on and who to sell to

versus who to ignore right you qualify

correctly you know who your

targets are you know who the real people

and prospects and leads that you should

be focusing on the next thing is you're

going to know how exactly to sell them

don't need to throw darts at the doctor

start pitching all kinds of directions

hoping something will stick you will

have under qualified them to the degree

where you understand them really really

well instead the buying process you

understand that pain point you

understand the context in which they

evaluating your solution you understand

exactly what kind of personal

organization they are so when you pitch

them you're pretty high likelihood of

pitching them successful because you

know enough about them to say the right

things and convince them that they

should purchasing the solution your

solution if you know that they should be

purchasing your solution and then you're

going to know exactly what it's going to

take to close the deal what are all the

steps involved all the stakeholders

involved what's the timeline I should be

expecting what's kind of the deal value

in volume you'll have the right

expectations so when you win you're

going to be able to reap the rewards and

be happy about it because your

expectations in reality matched right

now let's look at some things on how to

qualify somebody well so qualifying in

sales is all about asking questions

understanding somebody well getting more

information from the prospect or lead

and here's four categories in which

you'll have to ask questions and to

really understand if somebody's

qualified and I encourage you to

actually take some time and create as

one simple page a document that your

qualifying qualified document where you

write down for each of these categories

the key questions that you have to ask

and the key information that you need to

know somebody qualifies so the first

area in which you'll have to qualify

somebody in is the customer profile

right if you haven't you really need to

create a customer persona or customer

profile really understand who is your

ideal customer you know what kind of

size company is the right company to

purchase your product what industries or

verticals are really good ones and ones

where you create a lot of success and a

lot of value in geography maybe your

product in your solution is really great

at servicing customers in the US but

really horrible for international

customers or customers in certain

regions around the world use cases like

maybe some customers maybe there's a

variety of use cases a ways to use your

product and there's some of these use

cases where you're like a lot better

than others and you can make that part

the customer profile and you would want

to check do they want to use the product

in the right way do they have the right

problem that fits our solution and does

a solution fit their problem

and then history right what kind of

other tools have this customer have our

most successful customers what kind of

tools have they used in the past

what kind of ecosystem are we playing in

so some companies figure out that their

ideal customer is having over a thousand

fans on Twitter and is using you know

email marketing tools or whatever else

it is you might know that that your

customers are typically customers of

certain other solutions and make that

part of your customer profile so you

want to ask all these questions about

their size the industry the vertical

geography use case history to to really

understand if they qualify and if they

are good fit on a customer profile basis

then second you want to really

understand their needs right so the

person you are talking to you what is

that person's need what does she want

is it a career move is it a big

challenge she has in your department is

it about reaching certain goals in

revenue or decreasing cost or you're

improving certain frictions in

collaboration like what is the actual

need of the individual that is

purchasing your solution but also what

are going to be the needs of the team

and all the end users that are going to

be using your solution and what's the

overall needs and goals of the company

that you're selling to right so you need

to be thinking about this on all

stakeholder levels down to the

individual that you're talking to Gary

Vaynerchuk in an interview that I made

that you can find on YouTube Gary

Vaynerchuk close out you'll find that

that that amazing video about kind of

his perspective on sales one of the

amazing things he said when I asked him

how he thinks about enterprise sales was

that he doesn't sell to the enterprise

or a brand

he always sells to people it's always

Bob you know at coca-cola or Jennifer at

you know whatever Unilever it's always a

person and it's always people at the end

of the day but you need to understand

the needs of these individuals

collectively to understand how to sell

to them and to understand if they

actually qualify if those needs are

needs that you can help that you have

historically fulfilled in a successful

way the next the third level is decision

making process there might be something

that qualifies or disqualifies somebody

for you so how do they make decisions

how many people are involved

what kind of departments are involved

what's the typical buying process that

they have

what is the time line that in mind it

might be that you decide that nobody's

quite a qualified buyer for your product

if it takes them more than 12 months to

decide or if they if they are planning

to buy something that takes longer than

three months right you might be saying

that for us a qualified lead or prospect

somebody that's able and capable of

making a buying decision within the next

three months let's say so the decision

making process you want to ask about all

the stakeholders the typical process all

the departments all the paperwork

everything that you're going to need to

actually close them and what the

timeline is that they're having in mind

in order to actually making a buying

decision and then last but not least the

fourth thing you want to qualify people

on them and businesses on is competition

like who are you competing against a are

they comparing you against other

competitors in the market area so who

are they

evaluating buying your solution versus

building their own internal solution

what are the criteria that they're going

to utilize and use to make a decision to

go with you versus a competitor versus

with an internal solution you want to

understand who you're competing with

right if you understand the customer

profile the needs of the individuals the

decision making process and also who

you're competing with and overall in

that context you'll have a really great

idea if somebody is a qualified prospect

and lead or not right here's a few

things to be aware of bad signs red

flags if you want so number one if

you're trying to qualify somebody you

ask all these questions and you engaging

and a lot of things that they say make

no sense they're kind of going against

each other you might be running into the

kind of true true information versus

challenge right so sometimes

prospects or buyers will not want to be

totally forthright with what's going on

so they're gonna be telling you things

instead of telling you the real reason

so as an example you might hear somebody

eventually in the qualifying

conversation go well I think that this

you know I think that for us what's

really important is that this thing

really scales two thousand and thousands

of people because that's really

important to us and then later on you

find out that their team is only two

people they have no venture funding they

have no real growth or real customers

and kind of things don't compute right

don't make sense either it is because

you know they might be

eeee they might be cooler so not really

a sophisticated buyer but on the other

hand well it might be is that they are

not really telling you the truth oh they

have some things that they try to hide

so you want to make sure that you pay

attention to does that story make sense

does it does everything computers

everything check out and if not don't

just ignore it bring it up bring it up

in a nice kind you know honest way say

you know what I struggle with this

little point why is scaling so important

if you guys are still small or I

struggle with this one information kind

of at the hard time most of our

customers that say X Y Z don't really

have this this constrain why is it

something that's important to you guys

and a lot of times just trying to

clarify will really bring up the real

real issues or real information versus

the fake pay attention to context not

just content not when you qualify

somebody it's not just about what they

tell you with words what that content is

but also context can make a big

difference so how they're saying certain

things right if they're saying oh you

know we're really we're really excited

about looking into this market right how

excited did they sound

how can Gruen weather like not very much

so this might be because it's a

personality type if that's something is

that's kind of the energy level that the

prospect has during the entire

conversation that might point to a

personality type but if in the entire

conversation they have a good energy and

then when they talk about something very

specific like whatever implementing this

solution internally they sound super

depressed you might not just want to

listen to the words that say oh we're

super excited on implementing this but

you might want to address that they

don't sound excited so you might want to

go well a lot of times implementing is

really hard our you know concerns about

that and like just stimulate real

conversation to have a real information

to flow and don't just ignore the the

context and just pay attention to the

content and turn around tell somebody oh

they're super excited did they really

are they really did they really sound

excited was the the context they're not

just the content and then look for a red

flag is like lack of clarity whenever

somebody says I don't know to too many

of your questions hey what kind of

industry I don't know how do you

typically make these buying decisions I

don't really know if they say I don't

know or don't want to really share

information on too many things again

either they're clueless or they don't

trust you don't want you that

any insights in how they're making

decisions you need to call them out on

it and be like hey listen like this we

only closed customers that become real

long-term partner partners of ours to do

that successfully we both need to be

open and really need to understand what

you need to be even able to to judge it

our solutions the big one

or I should point you into a different

direction to make you successful so

point it out and you know whenever

somebody has too much lack of clarity

typically a red flag during the

qualifying process so when do you know

that your qualifying really well well

one if your salespeople have really high

productivity they don't waste time a lot

of things that don't go anywhere then

waste a lot of time on deals that are

really super tiny and not worth their

effort and they're super super

productive when you have really

successful customers and now I know

sales is not the only ingredient that

that influences customer success and

happiness might be supporting to you

might be product issues but if you have

a lot of sales related customer success

issues where people come back and say

sales promise me something completely

different than your product delivers and

those kind of things then you know that

you're not qualifying people well but if

you have a lot of successful customers

points to that your qualifying process

is probably pretty good if your time to

close is really good compared to your

competitors or the market that's usually

a good sign that you qualify in really

tightly and knowing exactly how to

optimize the process to get them to a

close and then with that good

forecasting knowing exactly what kind of

deals are going to close or what they're

going to be worth so remember you know

if you're trying to close deals in sales

without qualifying people it's kind of

like trying to commit to get married

with someone before you're going on the

first blind date might work but overall

it's probably probably a pretty bad idea