Having an hour long meeting with an unqualified prospect is like buying an expensive software that only shows a blank screen.
It’s pointless. An unnecessary waste of time that can only have a negative impact on the bottom line.
With lead acquisition costs rising (the small business average is $70) and sales cycles lengthening it is more important than ever to make sure every possible step is taken towards spending time with the right people.
In my e-book (How To Master Lead Generation) I talk at length about how to generate qualified leads and what constitutes a qualified lead in the first place.
I wanted to share with you a linear approach for ensuring you are having valuable meetings with the right people. It looks like this:
Stage 1 – Potential Target
The world is a big place, full of potential clients. When you know your target market you can filter out ‘everybody’ and know the person you are talking with is someone you could do business with.
This is something that we should find easy and is probably something that already happens.
For example, if you sell to sell to privately owned companies you can filter out any government institutions on face value as not being a potential target.
Simple enough, right?
Stage 2 – Qualified Target
These represent targets that you can sell to. They have qualities, characteristics or something about them that means they are a viable target.
For example, you are a Financial Planner that works with businesses to develop 401k packages. You would want to know at this stage things like if they have 1) A certain amount of employees 2) Contractual obligations to another company etc.
The distinction between stage 1 and 2 is that just because someone is a potential target doesn’t mean that they are someone you could do business with. What filters can you put in place to start ensuring you are only talking with qualified targets?
What’s also important is the stipulation that these targets are people you could sell to. This is not saying that they are viable targets at this point, that is what the next stage is for.
Stage 3 – Qualified Lead
A qualified lead, in my book, is someone that understands you offer, has illustrated a desire to learn more AND is someone that you can sell to in the near future.
So…at this stage you are wanting to ensure you are going to meet with someone worthy of your time. This means ensuring no barriers to entry, you are talking with the right decision maker (or at least one person in the buying center) and that they have reiterated how they believe you could help them.
You know just how important your time is and what each sale means to your business. Make you qualification discussion(s) count so that you can have a productive meeting with something that is more likely to do business with you than not.