Selling Requires Skills
Sales has changed drastically over the last 20 years. Social media has forever changed the way business is done and opportunities created. However, sales skills are still necessary for facilitating a final purchase. The sales assessment Alignment Group uses evaluates seven skill sets and that information is utilized when building a sales team. This is part four of a blog series focused on sales evaluation and skills to look for when you hire sales reps. Follow the entire series starting here.
Qualifying a Lead: An Inbound Sales Skill
Leads can be generated in multiple ways, by traditional marketing methods or through inbound marketing. But, let’s face it, every lead will not become a sale. Some leads are hot and others cool depending on where they are in the sales cycle. If you have a sales rep on your team who can accurately determine what a viable sales qualified lead looks like, lead generation and lead qualification are already a built in talent on your team.
A candidate assessment allows us to understand how thoroughly salespeople certify opportunities. Here, the percentage is an accurate guide to how well, how often, and how effectively sales reps are qualifying opportunities. Lead qualification has a tremendous impact on the accuracy of your pipeline and forecast.
Meets with Decision Makers and Knows the Decision Making Process
Sales reps with strong qualifying skills are aware of who makes the ultimate sales decisions within a given organization and are able to secure meetings with these decision makers. They are familiar with the decision-making process and are good decision makers themselves. These reps are familiar with how most clients “get to yes” when making decisions about products or services. They are adept at objection handling with no panic. This sales consultant has excellent closing and hunting skills while still remaining likable.
Asks Deep and Insightful Questions
This rep is not intimidated when discussing issues that make some uncomfortable. Money or investment issues are discussed well in advance, including terms and conditions, contract specifics and the time and resources necessary to bring the deal to fruition. If the item being sold is high-ticket, pricing is discussed up front. These individuals are thorough, able to assess the needs of a prospective client, and realistic about the chances of closing. Not only are these reps competent about steering a prospect toward a decision, they also make consistent attempts to close the deal. Ideally, this sales rep will be your expert in screening prospects.
Uncovers the Prospect’s Budget and Offers Compelling Reasons to Buy
Sales people who excel at lead qualification uncover the “pain points” or main issues and concerns the prospect is experiencing and then provide compelling reasons to make a purchase. They are adept at getting to the heart of money matters quickly and efficiently with clients, weeding out those that are not financially able to commit to a sale. Once it is determined that the prospect has the capital to purchase, reps with strong qualifying skills get into detailed conversations to find the root causes of client issues and then steer them toward solutions. This rep is thorough; leaving no stone unturned. Not only do they discuss every implication of making a purchase or a change, they get to the root of whatever is causing indecision.
Has Little or no Need for Approval and is Able to Stay in the Moment
The rep with strong qualifying skills does not allow a need to “be liked” to get in the way of getting the answers to important questions. He or she does not fear rejection and is not concerned about being the prospect’s friend. However, this does not mean they are unprofessional or rude; they may be direct, but they are always professional. They address key issues and ask the questions that need to be asked. They are not concerned about stepping on toes and will not hesitate to ask a prospect about the possibility of ending a relationship with one of their current vendors.
Keep Filling the Funnel
While it can be difficult to spot a rep who can determine qualified leads, this competency can be cultivated and developed through sales training. Sales people that have, or develop, “Qualifier DNA” will be able to generate leads and fluidly move prospects through the pipeline for you. Because this rep is highly able to determine the feasibility of each opportunity, unattainable sales will have less time spent on them. This is the area where so many opportunities are inappropriately identified as viable. If consistent, effective qualifying is applied, it will significantly increase revenue. So what are you waiting for? Perform a sales analysis with your current team or when you consider how to build a sales team from the ground up.