Problem: It was a gloomy day and had just started to rain when Rick left his second lousy appointment of the day. “Man,” he thought to himself, “it’s pouring down rain, my car is at the other end of the parking lot, and this appointment that I drove 40 miles to see was a total waste of time. My grandmother is a better prospect than this guy.” He put his head down and dejectedly trudged through the rain towards his car. On his way back to the office, he reflected on the appointments he had been on recently. The majority of them had been similar to these two, a waste of time for the most part… nobody seemed interested in buying. He was starting to feel like they were all bad prospects. The gloomy day mirrored his mood perfectly. He needed to do something quickly since his sales were starting to suffer.
Analysis: There are no bad prospects; just ineffective salespeople. Unfortunately, salespeople seem to be willing to meet with virtually anybody who expresses so much a passing interest in what they are selling. Hope springs eternal, as they say, and salespeople hope that if they can just get face-to-face with someone, anyone, something good might happen. However, more often than not something not so good happens. Let’s face it; most salespeople really don’t want any bad news, so they don’t ask the tough questions. You know the ones that might disqualify a prospect. Questions like the ones we’re suggesting below.
Solution: If you want more productive appointments, change your attitude and commit to quit wasting your time with unqualified prospects. Be adamant that you simply don’t have the time to meet with anyone who can’t pass a quick qualification test. Anyone who can’t answer affirmatively to the following three questions may not be worthy of your time:
- “Is the problem compelling enough for you to take a good, hard look at a solution, assuming one were available?”
- “Are adequate resources available to implement a solution, assuming you found one that you felt would work?”
- “Who other than you is having discussions about this? Should they be involved in our discussion? If not ask, “What part do they play in your discussions with them about this?”
If the answers to the first two questions are affirmative, you probably have a good prospect. If you get a wishy-washy answer, chances are your prospect is not very close to buying anything from you or anyone else. (Let your competitor go on this call.) The third question is designed to make sure you have the right people at the meeting. How much better would you feel if you had this information before you went out to the appointment?
Your time is simply too valuable to waste with people who aren’t serious or who don’t have the resources to buy. And, you can’t afford to spend time with people who don’t have the authority to buy.