Your Prospects MAD
Sales Concepts on Qualifying Prospects
You probably think you need prospects to like you before they'll
buy. How about getting them MAD?
A key part of every salesperson's responsibilities is to keep their
respective sales funnel full of potential opportunities. The opportunities
can be new; some can be "organic" (from existing business).
Either way, both count based on the prospecting you have done to drive
Whether you are at a trade show, over the phone, or face-to-face at
a customer's facility, you will need to quickly determine a prospect's
legitimacy. Wouldn't it be great if legitimate prospects wore buttons
that said "I'm The Man!" (or Woman). Of course, selling
is not that simple and the challenge of identifying the legitimate
prospect is part of the fun and excitement of selling.
The best way to identify a legitimate prospect is to ask questions
to see if your prospect is really MAD. No, we don't mean whether or
not he is angry with you, but whether he is MAD enough to buy from
you. In sales, MAD means the prospect has the Money,
Authority and Desire to buy.
First, determine if your prospect has the Money. Ask
questions to find out if the project is funded or budgeted. If not,
it could be an uphill battle to acquire the funding and therefore
your sale will be in jeopardy. If the prospect does not have the money,
he or she is probably not a legitimate prospect. If your prospect
is a publicly held enterprise or large public institution it is fairly
easy to assess the financial status of the company. Information is
available on the Internet, SEC, and other sources of public records.
However if your prospect is a privately held company or you are dealing
with a small division of a larger company, data on money may not be
So how do you find out if your prospect has the money to buy? Following
are some sample questions you can ask to determine the financial status
of your prospect. This list is by no means exhaustive and you may
need to re-word some of the questions to make them work for you.
- How do you plan to finance this project? Are you planning to
lease or purchase outright?
- Will this purchase be covered under a capital budget or an operational
budget or some combination of the two?
- Will you be working with any third party lenders for this project
or acquiring financing from another source?
- How have you funded projects like this in the past?
- Will the funds for this project come out of your budget or someone
- Is this purchase part of a larger program?
- How would you like our companies to work together?
A more bold approach, but one that many customers appreciate is to
just state your price up front and see if your prospect has a problem
Second, even if funding is available, you need to know if your prospect
holds the second key, the Authority to OK the funding
for the project. Are you really talking to the Economic Buyer or someone
who only reports to the Economic Buyer? Your biggest clue is if the
prospect says something like "They will have to look at this."
There are many ways to determine if the person with whom you are working
has the authority to make the buying decision. Listen to the pronouns
used. If you hear words like "he" "she" "they"
"we" or a name like Bob or Sue you know someone else is
involved. You better find out who.
Good questioning and listening skills are essential to determine if
the person with whom you are working truly has the authority to say
yes. Here are some sample questions to help you get started.
- Please tell me how you will be making your decision to move
- Who else besides your self will be involved in implementing
- How will you measure the success of this project?
- What are the main criteria on which you will base your decision?
- Is there anyone else besides you with whom we should be working?
- What is your time frame for delivery? When do you intend to
make a decision?
- Who is going to oversee the installation and delivery of materials?
Finally, you need to discover whether your prospect has the Desire
to get this deal done. Is your return on investment compelling enough
to save the prospect significant dollars or allow the company to grow
their revenues? If so, you'll know you are talking to a legitimate
prospect. Again use the proper questions to determine the level of
desire for your prospect to make a decision.
- How do you see this impacting your organization?
- What other alternatives are you considering?
- How are you planning to cost justify this purchase?
- What do you consider the key components for successful implementation?
- If you could change something about your current situation what
would it be?
- What are your goals for your organization for the next X months/years?
- What is it costing you to postpone this decision?
Keeping your sales funnel full of prospects is essential to successful
selling. Remember to determine how MAD your prospects are, so you
can focus your sales efforts on the legitimate prospects that have
the money, authority and desire to buy.
Since 1981, Sales Concepts provides training programs for people
who work in sales, service, telemarketing, and management. Sales Concepts'
approach to training tailors each program for the individual, not
just the industry or company. Experiential training makes each Sales
Concepts' program unique. Attendees feel the class is created just
for them. These customized programs lead to measurably improved performance.
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