If you attended any of my workshops, viewed any of my videos or participated in a coaching session, you know that I speak constantly about the importance of generating qualified prospects (leads) for your pipeline. After all, this is what both inbound marketing and outbound prospecting are ultimately tasked with. Consider this statement. No sale can or does take place until you have qualified leads. I am sure that this point should not be a shocker. That stated, you might be wondering what a qualified lead (prospect) is.
In its basic form, a qualified prospect is a lead that fits your basic requirements for a buyer and that is sales-ready. Again, it is a prospect:
- That fits your basic requirements for a buyer and
- That is sales-ready.
Now, I know you may be asking what does all this mean. Let’s take each of the two points, one at a time.
What makes a buyer a good fit for your offering? Well, a buyer is a good fit when he/she fits an ideal customer profile. This is a checklist of the most basic attributes or key traits a prospective buyer needs to have in order to be successful as your customer or in order to do business with you. Period!
For example, let’s say that you sell reverse mortgages in the Los Angeles County Area for high end homes worth $1 Million. An ideal client for you would be:
- a person 62 years of age or older;
- living in Los Angeles County;
- with a home worth at least $1 Million;
- either owning the home outright or having a low mortgage balance that can be paid off at closing with the proceeds from the reverse loan;
- Plus any other number of required factors.
Anyone who does not meet these requirements is not a good fit for what you have to offer. In other words, the prospective buyer is either a good fit or a bad fit. As the picture below clearly shows.
Special note here. Just because the prospective buyer is a bad fit, does not mean that this prospect won’t buy. Obviously, even though the suit did not fit will, the guy above still bought it. On the contrary, it just means that this prospect is not the buyer for whom the solutions was built or designed for.
While being a good or bad fit is based solely on possessing certain requirements or traits, being sales-ready is determined based on actions. What actions demonstrate that a potential buyer is sales-ready? By sales-ready, I mean that an opportunity to do business exist now.
Is it that a buyer has a current need, want, desire or pain that must be resolved immediately? Is it that they buyer wants to take the time to explore options, to look at a demo, to engage in a full blown needs analysis? Is it that the buyer has the money to afford your offering? Is it that you are speaking with the person who holds the purse strings?
Unlike the ideal client profile that is pretty straight forward, determining when a lead is sales-ready depends upon determining which actions are the best indicator that an opportunity to do business exist right now, or within your sales cycle time. In my practice, I typically look at two main actions:
- There is a recognizable pain (need, want, or desire) and
- There is a serious intent to buy.
The benefit in knowing what a qualified prospect is or is not, allows you, the sales rep, to spend more of your time with qualified prospects and less with non-qualified leads. Think about this. Trying to close a non-qualified lead means you are trying to close someone who is either not a fit, or where an opportunity to do business now does not exists or both. Can you close a percentage of these non-qualified leads? Of course, But not without consuming a big chunk of your time, energy and resources. All of which could have been better spent chasing qualified prospects and getting a greater ROI as a result. Another benefit in knowing what a qualified prospect is the fact that you begin to develop the know-how on who to target and how to target more effectively.
In the final analysis, if you don’t know what your ideal client looks like or what actions that prospective client must take in order to e sales ready, I can guarantee you that you are also suffering from an anemic or starved pipeline. Consequently you unable to consistently hit quota or achieve goal.
Was this information of value? Want to get more tips and educational information automatically delivered to your inbox weekly? Great! Subscribe below!