Having a steady flow of prospects who interact with you, and hopefully become customers, promotes your company’s long-term profitability. To do that, you need reliable methods for qualifying prospects. And not all of them are created equal.
Before exploring how to qualify prospects, however, you need to consider the size of your market and the segments of the market you serve. For example, an auto parts manufacturer might want to focus on marketing to larger car dealers that would purchase a large volume of parts. Focusing on lower volume sales to multiple smaller car dealers would not be as financially rewarding for the manufacturer.
They could waste many resources talking to prospects of the wrong size or with the wrong characteristics. Instead, they focus on winning the business of customers that yield the biggest return on investment.
Not All Qualifying Methods are Created Equal
Certain ways of qualifying prospects are better for attracting the right customers to your company. Here are five ways to quickly qualify prospects most likely to become high-yield customers:
- Examine your customer base and find your best customers. The 80/20 rule is a good way to think about this. Eighty percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customer base. Your best customers generate the most revenue while demanding the least expenditure of resources.
- Look for a specific buyer characteristic, such as a buyer’s age. If you’re selling copy machines, you’d target businesses with older buyers who see a business need for copying. You wouldn’t target copiers to companies with younger buyers, who are more likely to believe photocopying is a thing of the past.
- Consider using a list broker to find prospects with your preferred set of qualifications. Prepare a list of customers and let a broker generate a new list, in a defined market or geographic region, that mirrors your current list. These prospects are most likely to buy from you because they match your current customer demographics.
- If you have a huge list of prospects, let your salespeople go through it and shorten it. They can use available labor hours to call prospects and narrow down the list. Focus future marketing efforts on these leads because they share characteristics with your best customers.
- Measure the reliability of the list of prospects. You can narrow down the prospective customers through phone calls, but seeing if they’ll become buyers occurs only after completing their individual appointments and noting their characteristics. Measure the characteristics of those leads who become buyers, seeking patterns of consumer characteristics they share. Those are the types of prospects you want to target the next time around.