Sales Qualifiers Information

Questions: How & When to Use Them to Qualify Clients

Qualifying a client is the art of determining whether or not the client is a good fit for our company.  We need to qualify aspects of their business (budget, needs, etc.) and our ability to help them.

Note: Don’t pepper the customers with these questions like an interrogator giving a prisoner the “third degree.” Work them into the conversation as you discuss the customer’s situation and business goals.
You can also add in softeners at the beginning of the questions to help soften the blow so to speak of repeated questions:  Examples would be:
I am curious…
Help me to understand…
Take me through….

The best qualifying questions are the ones relevant to the Prospect who is on the phone.  There is no script to these as they are on a per-case basis but we will offer here some of the more general questions that will help.  If you get a Prospect talking about themself and their business, and listen to what a client has to say, you can learn what questions to ask based on their feedback.

Better questions help you to get better control of the situation.   It’s not hard to get a Prospect talking about what they are passionate about.  That passion will also bring out the painful parts, which annoy them.  Their passion gives you one set of things to talk about, and the pain gives you another.  Passion makes them happy, pain inspires action to make the pain go away.

‘Why’ or ‘How’ Process Questions:  

These questions should still be kept as simple and basic as possible, but you should try to ask a ‘how’ question to get your prospect to open up and do more of the talking, giving you information that you can utilize to your advantage. The first type of qualifying question is usually a ‘how’ process question about a specific part of their selling process.
Some general questions that help to get to the process or procedure might be:

  • What do you see as the next action step?
  • What other data points should we know before moving forward?
  • What are your thoughts on how this should unfold?
  •  What has changed since we last talked?
  •  Is there any other issue in your company that could put this on the back burner or make this project no longer a priority?
  • How do you see this happening?
  • Can you help me to understand this a little better?
  • What does that mean?
  •  What else should we discuss?
  •  What appealed to you the most?
  • Does your company use their website? (if yes, how?)
  • How does your current website work for you?

Pain Point Questions:

Your next type of question should be ‘why’ questions about the specific process you’re trying to gain insight into and why that process is or isn’t working. However, you should avoid putting words in the prospect’s mouth or even trying to diagnose their problem, as this could backfire by making them angry or leading to a conversation about a problem your product can’t solve.

Some general questions in this category:

  • What concerns do you have?
  • What prompted your company to look into this project?
  • What are your expectations/requirements for this product?
  • What specifically would you like to accomplish?
  • What would you like to see improved?
  • What is the most important priority and why?
  • What other issues are important to you?
  • What motivated you to fill out the request form?
  • What challenges are you still faced with that your current solution still does not solve or address as effectively as you would like?
  • What will it cost you and your company if you keep things the way they are today?
  • If you were set alongside of your competition do you feel your web presence would stand out?
  • Do you feel you could be getting more value out of your website?

These next few questions could be process questions also, but if you know they aren’t in a good place with these, they are now pain points:

  •  Is your website mobile ready?
  • Did you know you can do a lot to help streamline your business tasks with some creative intranet solutions?
  • If you were set alongside of your competition do you feel your web presence would stand out?

Budget and Time Frame Questions:  

After you’ve gotten your prospect to open up about their pain points, your next step should be to ask if it’s a problem they have – or are trying – to fix, also known as the budget question.  For example, asking a prospect if they have ever looked into a specific solution tends to incite more open-ended ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. Your goal is to either qualify the prospect and progress them along to the next stage or get poor fits out of your sales pipeline as early as possible.  Many don’t want to tell you straight out “no” and will drag it out.  We need to know if it is a “no” so we can move on to the next yes!

Some questions in this category would be:

  • What is your timeline for improving /purchasing this site?
  • Are you ready?
  • How soon do you need this delivered?
  • What budget has been established for this?
  • How much money has been allocated for this project?
  • Has this item been budgeted? Does it need to be? Do you have the funds available?

Identifying the Key people involved and decision makers is also very important.  We may need to connect with someone else to get the answers we need.

  • Who else is involved in this decision?
  • Who has the final say?
  • Who else in your company should I be presenting to and following up with?

After giving a part of your presentation…you could then ask some of these questions:

  • Are you with me so far?
  • Does this make sense to you?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • How does this sound so far?
  • Does this sound like the kind of solution you are looking for?
  • What haven’t I covered that is important to you?

Concluding or Wrap-Up Questions:  

Once you’ve gotten enough information to either qualify or disqualify the prospect, your next step is getting them to the next stage of your opportunity pipeline. Instead of extending this preliminary conversation longer than it needs to be, you should try to end it with something like:

  • “Why don’t we set up a time to discuss this further?”
  • Are you ready to get going on this?
  • Are you ready to begin?