How to qualify your prospects

We sell a lot of advertising on our site. With about 200,000 unique small business owners visiting every month, it is an attractive location for companies who want to reach this market.

I field calls and emails every day from prospective advertisers and I can tell within a second or two whether someone is truly a qualified lead or just kicking tires. It all boils down to what they ask, what they don’t ask, and how they ask it.

I look for these warning signs:

  • They ask only for a price quote without providing any information about what they are looking to accomplish or specifics on the type of ad they want to buy.
  • They only clicked the “send info” checkbox on our form without putting anything in the comments/questions field.
  • They start by saying they don’t have the biggest budget.
  • They have never or rarely advertised online before (this tells me they will likely have unrealistic expectations).

The best prospects do one of two things:

  • Ask lots of questions.
  • Say exactly what they want to buy or the goals they would like to achieve and only then ask for a quote.

In other words, the people who will end up actually buying are the ones who look for value.  Value is a combination of quality and price.

If your prospects don’t ask a lot of questions or are focused only on your price, save your time.  Don’t blow them off.  That could be perceived as being rude and may cause reputation issues for you.  Just know that they will not be your best customers.

You can direct them to other options that might be better suited for their budget.  This will also show that you care about their needs and this will enhance your value.  You might find, as we do, that budgets magically get bigger when you show your real value.

Side note: if you are interested in getting information from a sales person and you feel that they are not paying sufficient attention to you, think about whether you inadvertently sent any one of the warning signs to them.  They may not be taking you seriously because you disqualified yourself.

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