Don’t waste time on the wrong prospects

Time is more valuable today than it was in the past. Technology has made people demand more from us, more quickly. So we need to spend our time wisely. As sales people, one of the most effective ways to do this is to make sure we call on, and continue to work with the right prospects, and ultimately know what it will take to close that business in a timely manner. This is a concept called qualification (or “vetting”) that I define as a set of guidelines that you can use to determine whether a prospect is likely to become a successful customer.

There are three levels of qualification that you need to consider when you are deciding on which prospects to call, and which prospects to continue to work with. Let’s look at all three: your ideal client definition, further refining the list, during the sales process.

Your ideal client

You already know this, why aren’t you doing it?! Before you even pick up the phone, send an email, or attend a function to meet prospects, you need to think about those types of companies with whom you do your best work. You can determine this by examining existing clients: which ones you’ve had the most impact on and why. What was it about that company, industry, or even the people with whom you interacted, that make it ideal?

Further refining the list

As you begin to contact prospects on the phone, by email, LinkedIn, and in person, you need to fine tune and qualify them even further. That is, learn more about the company that will help you to determine that they really do have the right mindset and it’s the right time to work with you.

For example, in my business when I am speaking with prospect’s (or the person that referred me) I ask these questions to understand their current situation:

  • Where is sales growth on the list of your key priorities for your company’s success this year? (I’m looking for top three)
  • What’s your perspective on investing in your employees to develop their skills? (I’m listening for a leader who believes in giving back to employees to help them become better sales people)

Positive answers to just these two questions tell me I have a “hot” prospect that I know I can help. I will have a good chance of closing that business because we are in alignment.

During the Sales Process

The final “level” of qualification that most of you have learned, but few put into rigorous practice, includes those questions that ultimately help you to understand:

What will it take for the prospect to do business with you?

B.A.N.T. (introduced into the sales lexicon by IBM) is a common qualification model that stands for: budget, authority, need, and timing. If you can learn these issues as work through your sales process, you will know the answer to the above question.

Does your sales team need help focussing on the right prospects? Check us out, give us a call at 416-520-4897 or send an email to and we’ll qualify you to see if we can help you!

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