Don’t Waste Time with Non-Buyers

Guest Post by Michael Boyette

Wouldn’t it be great if every lead you followed up on really needed your product and was a genuine buyer? Unfortunately, that’s not reality.

A key part of your job is to qualify prospects, figuring out which ones are worth pursuing and which aren’t. In fact, some would argue that no other selling skill has a greater impact on your numbers than the ability to weed out non-buyers.

The most effective sellers don’t waste time chasing non-buyers. They conduct purposeful interviews to determine whether the prospect is worth their time.

Prospects generally fall into one of the four groups:

Group 1: They need what you’re selling, they want it and they have the budget to buy it
Group 2: They need what you’re selling but do not want it because they aren’t aware that they need it
Group 3: They’d love to buy from you today but they don’t have the money
Group 4: They have the need and the budget but won’t buy because they don’t want to change

But prospects don’t have a number next to their names identifying their group. It’s up to you to figure out if a prospect is worth the time.

If you were to ask a salesperson what their goal is on a call, they’ll say, “To arrange a face-to-face meeting.” But unless the potential buyer is absolutely in group 1, why would you waste your time?

You wouldn’t. That’s why making a face-to-face meeting your primary objective on a prospecting call is the biggest mistake inexperienced salespeople make.

Successful salespeople have two primary prospecting goals:

  • DISqualify prospects
  • Get real prospects to qualify themselves

So how do you do it? Here’s one technique.

First, describe your product and ask if they want it in a concise, well-thought-out opening. For example: “We sell a software program that allows your customer service reps to chat with customers online in real time. This cuts the number of in-bound phone calls in half, reduces customer service costs, and increases sales by as much as 25%. I’m calling to see if it might make sense for us to discuss?”

Unless your prospect list is way off target, many will at least be willing to continue the conversation. But you’re a long way from done.

After the appropriate level of discovery, you have to identify what it would take to meet the customer’s needs surrounding the problem they’d like to solve. You do this by asking a series of preliminary questions about, say, the number of users, training needs, service needs, technology requirements and the time-frame for delivery. Then you say, “If we can meet all of your needs, what will you do?”

That’s the Magic Question. “What will you do?” The answer you want is, “Well, I’ll buy.”

If you don’t get that answer, there are only two possible reasons:

  • You missed something when probing to learn the prospect’s needs.
  • You’ve got an uncommitted prospect. Don’t waste your time giving him a demo. Don’t pay him a visit. He’s not going to buy

“What will you do?” – disqualifies non-buyers quickly and efficiently. Serious prospects appreciate this no-nonsense approach. When you give prospects the freedom to disqualify themselves, prospects will actively attempt to QUALIFY THEMSELVES.

Which is why I said earlier that “The Magic Question” eliminates the need to “close” prospects. The “close” begins with your first questions, and prospects close THEMSELVES during the sales process.

Michael Boyette is the executive editor of the Rapid Learning Institute Selling Essentials e-learning site and editor of the Top Sales Dog Blog. Contact Michael via email at topsalesdog @rapidlearninginstitute .com or connect via Twitter.

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