8 Steps to Qualifying Your Customer

Every now and then in our business, we have a customer who will call in for a specific request. Actually, what they are requesting is a product or specific service. If we give to the customer what he has asked for, this may be considered a successful exchange: the customer got what he or she wanted, and you get to profit from meeting that need.

However, did the customer really get what they want, or what they thought they wanted?

As salespeople, our job is not to simply take orders but to qualify the customer correctly and then present a solution. However, this can be difficult when a customer is absolutely certain of what they want. Still, you need to confirm and verify if the order is right for their needs.

Qualifying, to me, is probably the most important stage of the sales process. Loosely, these may be some of the stages in your sales process:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Build rapport and establish credibility
  3. Qualify
  4. Presentation
  5. Handling objections and stalls
  6. Closing
  7. Asking for referrals
  8. Follow Ups

To not be a one hit sales wonder, long term partnering is wise. And correct qualifying is key to achieving this.

How do we qualify well? Here are 8 steps to qualifying your customer:

  1. First off, are you speaking to the right person? If so…
  2. Ask good questions, the right questions.
  3. Listen, really listen well.
  4. Restate what you understand to be there problem
  5. Ask inwardly if this is the real pain… is it a symptom or root cause? Explain the pain as your understand it.
  6. Is there a financial impact to this problem? Almost all problems have so, and if you truly ‘onion peel’ – you could determine the financial impact if the customer trusts you. Why would this be important? Relative to the solution we plan to provide, this just might be important to show the value of your proposition.
  7. Ask what they possibly have done to remedy this, or options they have explored.
  8. If you could solve their problem, would they have the budget for it? When could we place that order?

Never pitch products. Never present any of your impressive solutions if you don’t know what the problem is.

Always qualify well, and you will stand out from other salespeople, be more successful and have long term customers.

Anil Salick

Anil Salick

Strategist, Facilitator, Coach, Writer. Shares about inspiration, leadership, critical thinking, fun, sports and current events.