3 Key Criteria for Qualifying Leads

The goal of any sales position is to demonstrate how your product or service will make someone else’s life easier.  When this is done successfully, it is likely that you will land the sale.  However, it is important for a salesperson to accept the reality that just because you want as many people to use your product as possible doesn’t mean that it will benefit them all the same.  The good news is that the world is filled with customers and businesses that are looking for your product.  That means it is up to the sales team to differentiate between those who will and will not benefit from it.  Being able to quickly qualify a prospect will allow you to spend more time with the customers who will get the greatest benefit and less time on those that won’t.  When deciding which prospects to go after, it is helpful to utilize these 3 key lead qualification criteria.

  1. They Have a Need

This is the first sign that the prospect is qualified.  In general, if the prospect is looking for a solution, they have a need.  Oftentimes this need comes from a pain.  The customer has a problem and they are looking for a solution.  In some cases, the customer knows exactly what they want.  In other cases, their need might be a bit vague.  In some instances, the customer might not know they have a need at all and it is up to the salesperson to make that clear.  Regardless of their level of awareness, anytime a prospect has a need that you can address, it is worth your time investing in their need in order to make a sale.

  1. They Have the Money

This is clearly an important component in making a sale and will be the focal point of any negotiation, and thus is one of the key criteria in qualifying a lead.  If the prospect doesn’t have the capital to make the purchase, there is no point in wasting your time or theirs.  You can find out if a prospect has the money by asking some important questions up front such as:

  • Are you familiar with the investment involved in making this purchase?
  • Other than price, what other criteria will you base your decision on?
  • Have you set aside a budget for this?

If a prospect is basing their decision solely on price, they probably don’t have the capital to invest properly in your product.  Don’t waste time on someone who isn’t prepared to make the investment.

  1. They Have the Time

These criteria vary depending on product and industry, but time resources are important to consider when qualifying a lead.  Are they ok with your delivery time or do they need the product in 2 days?  Do they understand that it could take weeks to implement your new system or are they expecting immediate results?  If the customer is not flexible with their time frame, this factor could eliminate them right away.  Keep in mind, however, that just because they had previous expectations, you might be able to sell them on a little more flexibility if you develop trust and credibility with the client and they understand what proper delivery time entails.