How to Avoid Wasting Time with Unqualified Leads
On this episode, SRG's CEO Norman Behar shares advice on how to avoid wasting time with unqualified leads.
Dan Christie asks:
What are some successful methods to flush out prospects who literally 'pretend' they are interested in my offer? I seem to run up against time wasters way too often. Specifically, I mean candidates who have absolutely no intention of buying and yet 'pretend' they are interested. I hate wasting my time or others so I find it baffling when prospects have little or no respect for my time. What is the best way to flush these time wasters out without alienating legitimately qualified prospects? The verbal request for a proposal has become one of my red flags for this. At the same time, there are some who actually need to see a proposal before they can buy.
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The issue here is really this idea of people pretending. But from my experience people don't pretend to be interested in solutions. They may be professionally polite and maybe show some indication of interest but I don't really think it's the issue of pretending versus not being interested. I think it's the degree of interest—and keep in mind that people can have a casual interest in a solution or a very intense need for a solution.
As a salespersons you have to have the perspective that you're selling to them and really do a great job of qualifying their level of interest. One of my favorite acronyms is BANT, B-A-N-T, which stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timing.
So, in your conversations with that customer, as you're qualifying make sure you're having a conversation with them not interrogating them. But in the course of your conversation, ask them questions: Is this a budgeted initiative?, Would you be the person who's making this decision or are there others involved? So you're really kind of getting to authority. Are they an influencer or a decision maker?
Try and understand what's driving this need, how intense is this need, so what is the need, is it a real business problem they're trying to solve or is it something that's more theoretical or hypothetical?
And then what's your timing, ideally when would they like to move forward with this type of solution? By thinking about whether this opportunity is truly BANT ready you can decide what are the appropriate sales actions to take.
Again, I think it's not so much a matter of the customer wasting your time, it's really a matter of thinking about how much time do I want to allocate to this opportunity after I've qualified the level of interest.
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About Norman Behar
Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.