Nothing Beats a D-A-M-D Good Lead
By, Landy Chase, MBA, CSP
Everyone likes the
phone to ring with the sound of a potential new client. In fact,
most business people get so excited over an incoming lead, they
completely ignore the all-important process of qualifying the call -
and pay the consequences later. Do you know how to tell the
difference between a bona fide buyer and a tire-kicker? When
handling an incoming inquiry, the objective is to determine if the
call is a DAMD good lead, meaning the caller has:
D = Desire, a
A = Authority to make
M = Money to afford
to buy from you;
D = Deadline; a
timetable in mind for doing business.
How does one go about
establishing these criteria on the telephone? It's not as difficult
- or as time-consuming - as you might think. Below is a list of my
"Excellent Eight" - eight simple qualifying questions to ask those
incoming callers who express an interest in your company's products
or services. Use my "Excellent Eight" with every incoming lead, and
you'll always be well-prepared to close the sale.
Desire: Question: What prompted you to
A simple question,
and yet the most important question in determining the quality of
the lead. The more specific the response, the better (in most cases)
the selling opportunity. You are looking for the caller to respond
with a simple, specific answer: in effect, "I am looking for ______.
If this is the response you get, gain a complete understanding of
the caller's interest, and then schedule an appointment.
Others will be more
vague in their response, i.e. "I just wanted some information on
your company's services." Not to sound ungrateful for the attention,
but these are tire-kickers. Mail them something if you like, but
don't schedule a meeting until after you have followed up behind the
material and qualified the contact further.
Question: "Assuming your
company were to want to proceed with this, what would your decision
process be, and who else besides yourself would be involved?"
Don't be afraid to
ask this question. This is not being "pushy"; it is being a good
business person. Ask with confidence. Then, once you establish the
other people involved in the decision, attempt to have your contact
arrange a meeting for you with these other individuals. Explain that
everyone will have different questions and issues, and that you
would like to get all questions answered prior to putting together a
Question: "What is your
Does everyone answer
this question? No - but nobody will mind you asking it. Another
approach is to say, "Our fees for this type of application will be
in the range of from ______ to _______. Is this within your budget?"
Yes, you might get a
"no". Well, better to find out now than later, right?
Question: "What is your
timetable for wanting to move forward?"
Ideally, the caller
will give you a timeframe, such as "we need to have made a decision
on this by (date)." A person who says "we haven't gotten that far
yet" is not in buying mode yet - and your job is to put them there.
Other questions to cover in the initial phone call:
How did you hear
The key to increasing the frequency and quality of
future leads is to identify what forms of marketing are working for
you. Asking this question consistently of every incoming lead is
critical to growing your business. Track your sources of incoming
leads to determine which marketing efforts are paying dividends.
Find out where the caller heard about your firm, and make a note of
it. Over time, you will learn where your marketing dollars are
paying dividends - and where your marketing dollars are being
What other options
are you considering?
This is a polite -
and effective - way of asking "who is my competition for your
business?" without having to actually ask this question. Usually, if
they are looking at other options they will answer the question,
"We’re also talking to _____". If this occurs, go to the next
question, which is:
Where are you in
your meetings with them?
Are you going to be
the first option they talk to? You need to know, before scheduling a
meeting, if your buyer has already met with your competitors. This
is a critical step, because it allows you to plan you strategy for
opening your first meeting. If they have already met with you
competitors, go to question 5.
What have you
liked and not liked about what you've seen so far?
This is a clever
way to determine what you are up against in a competitive sale. You
will not only learn how your competitors have performed to date;
you'll also learn, by repeatedly asking this question during
incoming calls, exactly how they market themselves, and what their
strengths and weaknesses are.
Now you are
ready for your meeting! Consider for a moment how much better
prepared you will be for your first call - by taking the time to ask
a few intelligent questions. In qualifying leads, knowledge is
power. Knowledge - and power -is gained by those who know how to get
Read other articles and learn more about
Landy Chase, MBA, CSP.
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