Distinguishing Your Business Leads: What’s Qualified and What’s Not

A young man sitting down on the phoneGood news - you just received two leads from your marketing campaign. One responded to a social media post. Another emailed you from your website. Which one should you spend time on? Before you decide, determine if they have the potential to become a customer. It’s called “qualifying your lead.” Start with these questions to help separate customers who are closer to buying from those who will need more time.

Do they need what you’re offering?

You can sell a product to someone who doesn’t need it. But chances are they’re not likely to buy again. And they’re not likely to refer others to you. So take the time to get more information. For example, a lawn service might ask if an individual owns or rents their home. If they’re a renter, you can elect not to pursue or pivot to another service like picking up pet waste in the yard.

Do they have the ability to pay?

For higher-cost offerings, you may want to determine if the customer has the means to pay. Knowing someone’s budget helps you better match up your offering. For example, a custom auto-detailing business can better direct a customer to an option that fits their budget. Some businesses also address this with payment options or credit terms.

Do they have the authority to buy?

There can be more than one individual who is involved in a purchase decision, especially if you are marketing to businesses. So it’s important to identify who will make the final decision. It might be as simple as asking, “How does your company make the decision to buy?” Knowing you are speaking with an authorized buyer means you’re closer to a decision.

Can they be approached favorably?

You might have someone who has a need, is able to make the decision and can pay. But, you’re not able to contact them. For example, some government contracts require that you first meet certain requirements in order to bid on a project. If your business does meet the standard, you may not be able to approach what otherwise would be a promising situation. Knowing that in advance will help you better prepare before going after a certain market segment.

Are they eligible to buy?

Some individuals may not be eligible to buy. For example, say an individual responds to your website offering for a product that includes a manufacture’s rebate if they are over age 65. If age is not part of the qualifying information you ask on your website’s reply form, you may be contacting individuals who are not eligible to take advantage of your offering.

You’ll want to respond to all leads in some way. But not all deserve the same level of attention. That’s where qualifying the lead helps you decide what priority to give each. Consider these questions to help you identify your most promising leads.

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