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How Do You Qualify a Lead?

“How Do You Qualify a Lead?”

I’m confused by this question because for a lead to be qualified, you, the salesperson, have to uncover/know three things about your prospect in order to determine if they are “qualified”.

And the only way possible to accomplish that is to ask the right questions at the right time (So that’s my short answer)

Here are the three things you need to uncover in order to qualify a lead:

1) Does a problem exist that your solution can solve?

Understand that I’m not saying the prospect has to be aware of the problem – yet. But there has to be a problem you can help solve. You will need to engage the prospect in a conversation and ask questions that will identify if a problem exists.

2) You will need to uncover the prospect’s role in the decision-making process.

You can NOT 100% guarantee their “authority” in the decision making role based off of one’s TITLE. Each company has its own purchasing process. Sometimes that means one person has the final say, and other times multiple people will be involved, and sometimes, people you think should have the power, have none.

Part of the qualifying process is to identify your prospect’s role in the decision-making process. You need to know which questions to ask (AND WHEN TO ASK THEM) in order to find that out.

3) The last piece to the qualifying puzzle is:

Can they afford your solution should they decide they want it? If you are speaking to a decision-maker who has a problem and wants your solution to solve it but couldn’t afford your solution (under any circumstances) then you don’t have a qualified prospect. (That could change down the road, but they aren’t qualified in the here and now.

It’s up to you on how many “not yet qualified” prospects you want to have in your monthly pipeline. I prefer to have my drip marketing campaigns do their job with those leads while I continue to have conversations with prospects that have all three pieces to the qualifying puzzle).

In all three of these critical steps, the only way I know how to uncover each one is to have a conversation with my prospect and know which qualifying questions to ask at the time. This is why having an interest piquing opening value statement is so important. If you can’t pique their interest (via phone, voicemail and or email), you never get to the qualifying phase.

Getting to the “qualifying phase” is one of the toughest assignments for salespeople. So when you do get your prospect on the phone, make sure you already know what questions to ask, when to ask them and how to ask them with the proper tone/voice inflection.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.


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