Many businesses face the challenge of filtering out Prospects (actually potential buyers/clients) from Suspects (browsers who have no intention or authority to complete a transaction). Whether you are selling in a retail, wholesale, or a services environment, precious productive work time can be lost pursuing transactions that will never materialize if you don’t have an effective system for determining the difference between these two groups.
A Prospect is a qualified purchaser who has N-A-D-A:
N – Need (a need for the product)
A – Ability (has the financial capability)
D – Desire (wants to make the purchase)
A – Authority (can make the purchase without the authorization of another party)
A Suspect looks like a prospect but is missing one or more of the four qualities of a Prospect. An example would be – I walk into a Ferrari dealer – I Need a car, I Desire a Ferrari – but I do not have the Ability to pay for one.
Filtering out the Pretenders
Most Suspects have either Need or Desire for your product or service – this is what brought them to your door or website in the first place. Determining if they have the Ability or Authority to buy – without offending potential Prospects is the key!
Prepare a list of questions that can be asked in the first few minutes of an interaction, which may help determine if the customer has the Ability or Authority to buy. Using the example above – The Ferrari salesperson could ask:
Q “Have you owned a Ferrari before?” A ”No – but I have always wanted one.”
Q “Are you planning on buying soon?” A “Not today”
Q “Are you unhappy with your current car?” A “My Prius just isn’t cool enough”
While the answers to these non-offensive questions individually may not disqualify me as a Prospect – the three answers together should give the salesperson the idea that his time might be better utilized with another customer.
Applying this filtering strategy in your business and ensuring your sales staff is trained to do the same can greatly increase sales productivity.
If you would like to learn more about this and other marketing strategies, go to www.georgiasbdc.org and check for classes in your area.
*Excerpts from this content come from the University of Georgia SBDC Maximum Marketing class.
This blog was written by Richard Montanaro; one of our business consultants. If you would like more information on services from our consultants please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org