When To Disqualify A Sales Lead

posted by Andrew Holmes
Read time 4 minutes

Stop trying to sell to everyone that calls on you. There, I said it. 

All leads aren’t made equal. If you’ve been in sales for any amount of time, you already know this. Of course, we’d like for every lead we get to be qualified and become the next star account, but that’s just not realistic. In fact, continuing the conversation with anyone that has a “red flag” for not being a good fit, is actually distracting you from finding that next star account

Let’s have a look at what some of those red flags might look like

When you can’t find pain

I should end this right here. If you aren’t solving someone’s problem, moving them closer to a more desired state or helping them to sleep better at night… you need to respectfully move on. Finding pain is extremely important, yet extremely difficult. In my experience, most people can’t even pinpoint what help they need when they first reach out! But, as professional salespeople, it’s our job to help them figure this out. 

Unless you’re selling Glow in the dark octopus finger tentacles  then you have no business selling based on “nice to have”. You have got to be selling on their needs (a tiny bit on their wants)… and how do we do that? Find the pain! 

When they don’t match your target buyer persona

Most companies don’t have their ideal customer identified or written down (although you should, there’s a massive benefit in doing so… take advantage of our free offer below), but most companies have a general idea of who they typically help whether it’s a certain geographical area, a certain vertical, a specific company size,  there are going to be key characteristics that you tend to cater to. 

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If you have a lead that doesn’t match any of that criteria, and if you’re not in a position to expand your offering, then it is best not to spend time trying to qualify.

Some suggested steps here would be;

  • Create goodwill by sending them in the direction of a good fit (even if that good fit happens to be a competitor). You never know when they’ll turn into being a good fit for you
  • Make some quick suggestions on how they can fix their problem, without hiring you. If they show promise of one day fitting into your ideal buyer persona, keep them as a Marketing Qualified Lead 

When you’re speaking with the wrong person

The different buyer roles are all important to the selling process, however, if you aren’t able to get past the gatekeeper or influencer, the odds are against you for making the sale. Gatekeepers and influencers can keep you busy with little to no return, as their job is typically to collect as much information as possible. If you sense that you aren’t going to make it to the decision making level, it would be wise to cut your loss and disqualify the prospect. Oftentimes, doing this will get the attention of the decision maker, and if they want your solution badly enough, they may begin to engage. Proceed with caution. 

As a professional sales person, your time is your most valuable asset. Be sure not to spend it in the wrong areas, and one way to make sure of that is to disqualify unfit leads.

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