Qualifying Prospect

Now let\’s talk about qualifying the prospect in the process of selling. There are several other steps that you must take before you close the sale.

The first step, of course, is qualifying. You cannot sell a product until you know exactly what the prospect wants and needs to qualify. Effectively, you have to find the answers to four questions.

Two. Does the prospect need what you are selling? Can the prospect use what you are selling? Many people may need a piece of high-tech equipment, but they may not be able to use it because of the skill of the people or the structure of the organization.

Three. Can the prospect afford the product?

Four. Does the prospect want the product before you can close? The prospect has to have made it clear that he or she has a desire to enjoy the benefits of your product or service. Once you\’ve qualified the prospect in all four of these areas:

  • Does he or she need it?
  • Can they use it?
  • Can they afford it?
  • Do they want it?

Given your presentation and then determined that he or she wants to buy, you are ready to close the sale. Remember, most of the sale is made in the presentation. The better organized and practiced the presentation, the more likely it is that the prospect will buy what you are selling. In the presentation, you make your case that this product or service is the best choice for this prospect. The moment of closing is always difficult. There\’s always a moment of tension. There\’s always a feeling of stress on the part of the prospect. This is a form of buyer\’s remorse in advance.

Whenever a prospect reaches the point of deciding of committing to buying tension wells up, he or she experiences the fear of failure:

  • The fear of making a buying mistake.
  • Each of us, as human beings, experiences this fear of failure.
  • The tension in the closing moments of the sale is caused by the fear of making a mistake.
  • The fear of buying the wrong thing.
  • The fear of paying too much.
  • The fear of being criticized by other people.

What happens when a person feels this fear? It\’s very much like having a spear in the stomach. What does the prospect do? As a result, he or she backs away verbally rather than physically? Whenever a prospect experiences this fear, he or she retreats mentally; the prospect says things like, Let me think it over, or can you leave me some material? Or could you call me back next week? I have to talk it over with someone else. I have to check it out first, or I can\’t afford it, and so on. These are all different ways that the prospect tells you. I\’m afraid of making the wrong decision.

The second major stumbling block at the close is the fear of rejection.

It\’s the fear of the prospect saying no. Each of us, deep down inside, has a fear of being told no. A Fear of Being Rejected, because of this fear, we very cleverly organize our lives in such a way that we don\’t put ourselves in front of people that say, No. This is why salespeople actually avoid calling on new customers to avoid being rejected. And by the way, if you have a problem with the word no, you\’ve picked the wrong profession, four out of five sales calls end with no\’s, even in the very best of times.

In the finest economy with the finest product, 80 percent of your prospects are going to say no when you first approach them. One of the key requirements for success in selling is the ability to hear and no and to keep on selling. When the prospect says No, I don\’t think so. You must be able to ignore the remark and continue with the sales process exactly as if he or she had said nothing. You must realize that a no is not personal. It\’s not aimed at you as an individual when a prospect says no to you. He or she is saying no only to your offering. There may be a series of reasons for the rejection—most of which you can do nothing about. Your job is to face your fear, confront your fear and do the thing you fear, and ask for the order.

Sales resistance is normal and natural in every sales conversation at the moment of making a buying decision. This fear, this uneasiness, this tension starts to build up. Your job is to move through that moment of tension as quickly and as painlessly as possible. That\’s what good closing techniques are for.

Just remember that closing techniques are not ways of manipulating other people. They are not techniques to get people to buy things they don\’t want, don\’t need, can\’t use, and can\’t afford. They are techniques to help people past that moment of tension. The professional salesperson takes the prospects smoothly past the point of closing, making it easy for the prospect to buy. The unprofessional salesperson sits there wishing and hoping, and at the end of the presentation, he asks, Well, what do you think when you ask? Well, what do you think? You immediately trigger the fight or flight reaction. The prospects, stress, and tension start to build the heart pounds faster. The blood pressure rises, the body pumps adrenaline. Finally, the prospect says, Well, I think I\’d like to think about it. Even if he or she wants it needs it and can afford it. The tension is too great. This is why you must know how to ask a closing question. This tension that kills so many sales is why you must learn how to close smoothly and well. This is why you must know a series of closing techniques.