You may want to pursue every prospect in your sales pipeline, but not all of them are going to pan out. They may not have the budget, they may be tire-kickers or they may not have a sense of urgency to resolve their pain point right now. The sooner you can identify the serious and highly qualified prospects, the more successful you’ll be.

Lee Richards, the group vice president of sales at The Brooks Group, says it’s more important than ever that sales professionals optimize their time on the best-fit prospects. Pursuing anyone else can often end up being a waste of time.

Richards has put together a list of the characteristics to look for when qualifying your leads. We share his insight in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

1. They’re aware of a need. Qualified prospects need to know they’re facing a challenge. They might not know how to overcome this challenge, but they know it exists. Richards says sales professionals should ask questions to reveal if a prospect is aware of a need.

2. They have authority. No one wants to waste energy and resources pursuing a prospect who can’t authorize a purchase. Richards recommends asking in early conversations questions like, “Who else, other than you, should be involved in the buying decision?”

3. They’re in a hurry to make a decision. Qualified prospects have a sense of urgency. They know their problem and they want to find a solution sooner rather than later. However, if a prospect isn’t certain on timing, Richards says you don’t have to cut them loose fully. Just send the lead back to marketing to continue to nurture until they’re further down the sales funnel.

4. They trust you. Without trust in you and your company, a prospect isn’t going to buy. Salespeople who can develop trust from the very beginning of the relationship will often close the deal.

5. They’re willing to listen. Qualified prospects are willing to listen to what salespeople have to say. Pay attention to how the prospect engaged with you. Are they attentive and involved in the conversation? If so, consider this a good sign.

6. They’re aligned with your organization. Just because you can sell something to someone, doesn’t mean that you should, Richards says. Sales reps should consider the profitability of an account and whether it makes sense for your organization to go after it.

Qualifying prospects can be a challenging part of the sales process, but it’s necessary. It’s better to weed out those who aren’t a good fit early on so you don’t waste your time or theirs. If you’re working with people who show the characteristics above, keep going. You might close a deal sooner than you expect.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lee Richards is the group vice president of sales at The Brooks Group, a sales training organization.