Qualifying the prospect is a necessary process more than once during the selling process. Many of us have learned to qualify on a ‘needs basis’ at either the beginning of the presentation, or prior to the presentation. However, I know many salespeople who will qualify the prospect further into the presentation to ensure that the prospect is still willing to commit to a solution to any challenges they may be facing.
Whenever a salesperson embarks on a selling process, there are several steps that the seller should undertake before the formal presentation.
We have all been in anywhere from a department store, to a little boutique shop where someone has walked up to us and encouraged us to try something on, or hold an item, then out of the blue you are asked,
- “Why don’t you take it?” or
- “It suits you to a tee. And it’s on special today. Shall I wrap it?”
They try to close you without even asking you what you need. They simply forget to qualify. Remember that.
The first step is to fully qualify the prospects needs. Here it is vital that the seller has qualified the things the prospect believes to be a challenge they are both faced with and need help with. And it has been said many times that you cannot sell a product until you have thoroughly qualified the prospect. The qualification here is purely needs based.
The second question is, can the prospect use what you’re selling? How often have you been talked into buying something that you simply have not been able to use – especially if it’s something high-tech?
The third question is a vital question, but far too often is either asked far too late into the presentation, or worse still not at all until the seller is in the closing phase. It’s a simple one, is the prospect willing to pay what you are asking for, is it in their budget, or can they afford to buy it? Whatever it is, the salesperson should have cleared any one of those three points early in or prior to getting into a formal presentation.
And the fourth question is, does the person want the product? Now do I hear you say that you have already covered the needs part and the person definitely needs it, in fact, he told you he needs this a few times. But did he tell you he wants it?
So often this one point is overlooked, or worse still, never thought of. And here we have a situation of the salespersons own making. The seller has qualified the needs; then the seller has told you he a use for it; next there is no doubt that he can afford it, and you even qualified him a number of times on that issue; but the real issue here is that he doesn’t know if he wants it.
Do People Buy on “Needs” or “Wants”
In my first book on Closing (Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale – the one written in 1994) I dedicated three pages to the want factor. In that book I stated . . .
Do people buy on the basis of needs or do they buy on the basis of wants? Think about it carefully – in your opinion, what motivates people to buy – is it NEEDS or is it WANTS?
Now stop trying to work out all kinds of reasoning, logic and the things you have been taught over the years, like people only buy what they can pay for, and just answer the question – do people buy needs or do they buy wants?
The answer is simple. Most people only buy what they need when they have been specifically instructed to, or when their life depends on it. For example, a man with a bad back may be told to buy a vibrating chair for relief. That is his need – a vibrating chair. But he may want a very special vibrating chair, one that costs four times more than the base model does – he may need a vibrating chair, but he wants that one (even though it costs four times more than the other) and will buy it.
We all need a car to get around more efficiently – we do, don’t we? Then some us are happy to drive a basic Ford, while others prefer a Toyota, and still others only want a Mercedes, a Ferrari or a Rolls Royce. The fact is, we only NEED a vehicle with a chassis, mechanicals, a steering column and four wheels. Anything above that is what we WANT.
Perhaps a better way of putting it is, most people don’t buy on the basis of NEED, they buy on the basis of GREED. And the sooner the individual salesperson gets hold of that one fact, their sales will increase markedly without TOO MUCH additional EFFORT. The minute your prospect’s begin to believe they WANT whatever you are selling, they will quickly see a NEED for that product or service whether they really NEED it or not. It’s as simple as that.
So why is it that so many sales trainers (especially in the corporate sector) teach that we should isolate the prospect’s needs, and then sell them on that need? I know I’ve been guilty of thinking that way too, that is, until I was forced to think it through to its logical conclusion.
How’s Your Staying Power?
One of the most effective character traits of the winning salesperson is patience. And patience requires staying power in whatever you do. If you’re patient, you can practice commitment, treat your selling efforts as an investment and be consistent in whatever you do. Patient salespeople don’t expect miracles – they simply expect results. Good results in everything they set their mind to do.
This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 50 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 65 books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com