Written By: Jeb Blount
Pre-qualifying a potential prospect is a great practice. Pre-judging, however, can limit you in many ways. These are the way that pre-judging and pre-qualifying a potential prospect differ.
In sales, you don’t want to waste your time and resources with prospects who are unlikely to buy, but you also don’t want to pass up an opportunity to make a sale with someone who might at first appear not interested.
There is an art to pre-qualifying a potential prospect, but pre-judging one is entirely different. Being judgy is never a good thing because it can limit you in many ways.
So what is the difference and how do you stop yourself from falling into the trap of judging someone prematurely and missing a potential opportunity?
When you pre-judge a prospect, that comes from an internal emotion where you create an opinion about whether that prospect is worthy of your time and energy. Pre-judging means that you have a preconceived notion about whether they will buy into your product or service or not.
Often, as salespeople, we rule prospects out due to things like personality style, appearance, demographic, or other subjective things about a person that might or might not affect their interest in your product or service.
Pre-qualifying a potential prospect differs because it is based on objective reasoning, not an instant impression. It is considering factors to determine whether or not you have a good likelihood of winning over a prospect and making a sale.
Pre-qualifying is a necessary and good skill to reduce the risk that you will waste your time and resources on someone who is most likely not going to follow through with investing in you. It involves more than emotion and presumptions and opinions.
The key to being a successful salesperson is maximizing your energy and time spent on the right pipeline opportunities. Your time is valuable. If you waste time on a prospect who is not going to buy, you miss the opportunity to work with someone you have a greater chance of converting.
Pre-qualifying forces your to ask specific questions to uncover the unique needs to identify them as probable or not at all. It is not about assumptions that you make; it is about using facts and factors about a person, their position within an organization, and the sustainability of their industry to put your time, as well as theirs, to good use.
We’ve all heard that adage about a salesperson who can sell ice to an Eskimo; sure, that might indicate talent, but it isn’t the target or goal of sales. By pre-qualifying a potential prospect, you are limiting the time you spend on opportunities that won’t close. You free up time to spend on better prospects.
It involves putting in the work to uncover facts and ask questions. That is different than using your internal thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that might or not be true.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, nor should you judge a potential prospect; but if you read the jacket and you just aren’t interested, it is best to find another book to occupy your time!
A successful salesperson needs talent, personality, and intuition, but that is not always enough. Putting in the time to do your research, ask the right questions, and uncover real facts is what it really takes to excel. In sales, sometimes it is best to reserve judgment until you have all the information you need. Only then will you decipher who is worthy of your time and who might not be!
Jeb Blount’s book, Fanatical Prospecting, gives salespeople, sales leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives a practical, eye-opening guide. It outlines the most important activity in sales and business development – prospecting. Download our free Fanatical Prospecting Book Club Guide HERE.
Jeb Blount is one of the most sought-after and transformative speakers in the world…
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