Lead Qualification: Process & Overview

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  • 0:03 What Is Lead Qualification?
  • 0:38 Process
  • 2:24 Example
  • 3:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Trying to sell to customers that don't need, don't want or can't afford your product or service is pointless. In this lesson, you'll learn about lead qualification, including what it is and the process by which it is done. A short quiz follows the lesson.

What Is Lead Qualification?

Lead qualification is the process of determining whether a potential customer is a suitable candidate to purchase the product or service the salesperson is selling. Qualifying a prospect includes determining the following:

  • Does the product or service fulfill the prospect's needs or wants?
  • Can the prospect afford to purchase the product or service?
  • Is the prospect eligible to buy? Not everyone can buy an automatic firearm, for example.
  • Does the prospect have the authority to buy? Does the employee have the authority to make a purchase for the company, for instance?

Process

Some have proposed a three-step qualification process:

1. Initial Screening

At this step, you're just trying to identify leads that are the most promising. This can be accomplished through outbound communications, such as public relations, banner ads, emails, advertising, trade shows, direct mail and telemarketing. For example, you may send out direct mail pieces that have postage-free reply cards asking for more information or telemarketing based upon key demographic data used to set-up appointments. Sometimes you will use inbound communications, in which the customer contacts you directly through a phone call or web registration, for example. Sometimes promotional gifts, like an investment newsletter or a coffee mug, are offered as an inducement to seek more information. Again, the idea is to reduce your leads down to the most promising before spending time with each for qualification purposes.

2. Lead Qualification

Once you have gathered your leads, you must qualify them. Once again, you want to determine whether you can meet a prospect's needs, whether the prospect can afford it, whether the prospect can buy it and whether the prospect has the authority to make the purchase if representing an organization. This is usually done through a set of open-ended and closed-ended questions. An open-ended question is a structured question that doesn't require a specific response, such as 'what are your current business needs?' A closed-ended question requires a specific response. Examples of a closed-ended question include the typical yes-no question or 'how old are you?'

3. Sales Opportunity

If the prospect meets all the qualification criteria, then you have a sales opportunity.

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