Getting leads is hard work. Getting qualified leads is even harder work but very rewarding when those leads turn into customers. A few months ago, we wrote a series on Follow Up Fatigue and the importance of a strong sales funnel that attracts qualified leads.
Even with all the hard work, an unqualified lead can still make its way into the funnel. We want to introduce a strategic approach to catch unqualified leads that have found their way into your funnel. After all, you do not want to waste your time or their time when you know they are not a good fit.
This strategic approach is the pre-screen. The pre-screen is a set of questions that you can ask the lead when you are on the fence regarding its quality. The best place to take this approach when you are unsure is the middle of the funnel’s Sales Qualified Lead stage. Here are a few questions that you can ask the lead when in doubt.
- What is your business problem and what makes you interested in us, our product and our company?
Understanding your prospect’s motivations is important to allocate your time effectively. Is your solution right for this prospect? Does your lead always talks about himself or herself? Does your prospect ask educated questions about your solution? describe its team? If not, perhaps the prospect is not real.
- What happens if you do not make a purchase?
Knowing the impacts (positive and negative) are key to motivating buyers. If your lead says “nothing really”, they are not likely to buy. You can lay out the risks of doing nothing and, if there is no sense of urgency, you can probably move them to an unqualified list.
- What is your budget, and do you have the authority to make the purchase?
Most buyers don’t like to disclose their budget. Ask questions about their budget process and the effort level needed. It also is important to know who makes the decision. Is your lead the decision maker? If not, are they researching under the request of their decision maker or are they “just looking”? This question can tell a lot.
- Do you already have a solution with another vendor?
Sometimes leads enter into a funnel because they are frustrated at their current vendor. Often, they are not qualified leads in the short run. This question allows you to explore their emotional state and intentions. Were they mad in the moment with no intention of changing? Or, is their frustration from repeated behavior and they really do want to change?
These questions are to help you get started. There are other questions you can ask to screen questionable leads, especially ones specific to your industry. By taking the time to ask questions when in doubt, you will see a higher return of investment and happier customer relationships. If you have questions about screening questionable leads, please contact us. We would love to have a conversation.