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How to Qualify Leads Before the Demo

how to qualify leads

I was on a “sales qualify call” with a prospect that perfectly matched my ICP (Ideal Customer Profile).

They were in the right industry, had the right annual revenue, location, employee size and they had a major problem that I specialize in solving better than anyone else: They had a team of SDR’s (Sales Development Reps) who some were struggling with call reluctance and others were burning through good leads and not setting enough appointments. This is the stage in the sales cycle where most SDRs would set an SQA (Sales Qualified Appointment) and hand-off the lead. The Account Executive would then review the SDR’s notes and then launch right on into their presentation or demo with the prospect.

And that would be a HUGE mistake. Here’s why.

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How Top Account Executives Qualify Leads Before Demo

For starters, even though I am speaking with someone that has a C-Level title, I still do not know their purchasing process, their time-frame for solving this problem, or even what their ideal solution looks like – so doing a demo or presentation, could lead to a potential sale, but in most cases, when the Account Executive finishes their presentation/demo and goes for a close, they will hear common objections like:

  • “I have to run it by my boss”
  • “I’ll need to take it to the Board for approval”
  • “We don’t have the budget”
  • “We want to compare it with a few other options”
  • “We won’t need this until next year”
  • “We’re under a contract with another vendor” etc.

If Account Executives are hearing these types of objections and get mad at the SDRs, their anger is misplaced. They should be mad at themselves for ASSUMING the SDR properly qualified the lead (Besides, I’m not a believer in having SDR’s handle the entire qualification process – but I will talk about that at another time)

Before an Account Executive ever goes full-throttle into a demo or presentation, they should always “back-up” and cover the basic qualifying questions with the prospect to make sure all the boxes are checked.

It’s very simple to do.

Here’s a basic sales script that you can customize and make your own for this type of sales situation:

“Mr. Prospect, I know you spoke with my associate regarding (PAIN POINT / PROBLEM AREA) Before we get started, would it be OK if I recap some of the challenges you’re having just to make sure we’re all on the same page and so I can show you the right solutions for you to consider?”

Who says “no” to that? If you’re about to do a presentation or a demo with a prospect, you and your prospects want to make sure what you are about to show them will help solve their problem. Asking to quickly make sure you fully understand what they are looking to achieve will only increase your prospect’s bond with you as you are looking to help them.

And now, as you recap the prospect’s challenges, you “pepper” in the qualifying questions that you need to know before moving on, and in case the SDR missed a step or two in the qualifying process, you can catch it and handle it before doing the demo and you’ll greatly increase your chances of closing the deal.

– 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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