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Qualifying Phone Calls into A++ Leads

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post on your site after being recommended to me by one your members.

I'm new to a sales management role in the Retail Home Improvements section. I have one of my team members that is very new to the industry and is keen to do anything to prove he can do the job.

My problem is he isn't qualifying his phone inquiries enough and is running a lot of leads with no results, do you have any advice in which I can in part some wisdom into his sales process so he can be reaping the success he is striving for. - by Chris_Smith
Fielding phone inquiries with success is largely dependent on conversation skills--more so than "process", although the latter should be well thought out.

Preparedness is the most important skill in selling. With that in mind, the pertinent question that drives the preparedness in these situations is simply, "What do I need to know to assess the qualifications of this prospective buyer?"

As a manager, you can provide the answers better than anyone here, because all businesses are somewhat, to a greater or lesser scale, unique. - by Gary A Boye
Chris-find out what exactly is taking place or not taking place during these so called phone inquiries. What is he asking or not asking? You cant sell over the phone nor do you want to not uncover enough to see if it is a quality lead.

Do you own the home? with whom? How old is the house? When are you looking to have the work done? most of these questions will allow you to gain information beyond those questions. I wouldn't really go beyond that over the phone however make sure you tell the prospect that "the appointment will take approx 45 minutes depending upon how many questions you and Mr Jones have, is that sound ok?"

Just engaging in pleasant conversation more times than not will uncover a lot of the prospects intentions - by libbycop
Hi Chris, I agree with Gary on conversational skills, however process is often the foundation of successful communication.

A very simple process that you may want to recommend to your guy is the following set of questions: Now, Best, Least, New.

"Now" questions covers the current situation of the prospect, the lay of the land, and should comprise of 2-3 questions making up +-50% of the telephone interview time.

Follow this with a "Best" question, e.g. "What do you like best/most about...".

Then ask one "Least" question, e.g. "What do you like least about...".

Conclude the interview with a "New" question, which refers to what the prospect wants to see changed, almost like a wish list of sorts, e.g. "What improvements do you foresee ...?". This opens the field for more pertinent qualification questions such as budgetary provisions and timelines.

Once again, Gary is right in saying preparedness is the most important skills in selling. The questions you want to ask should be prepared and practiced "to death" beforehand, with several alternative questions lined up to enable a logically flowing conversation. - by rensia0303
I disagree with doing this over the phone. These questions should definitely be done face to face with the prospect after the initial pre qualification process.

If questions like these were done over the phone to someone calling about a window or siding estimate you wouldn't get very far. Your not making sales over the phone, your merely seeking to ask some prequalifying questions to gauge the buying interest of a prospect which is important.

I believe your post regarding your Best/least questions are to be done during your presentation not prior to. - by libbycop
I disagree with doing this over the phone. These questions should definitely be done face to face with the prospect after the initial pre qualification process.

If questions like these were done over the phone to someone calling about a window or siding estimate you wouldn't get very far. Your not making sales over the phone, your merely seeking to ask some prequalifying questions to gauge the buying interest of a prospect which is important.

I believe your post regarding your Best/least questions are to be done during your presentation not prior to.
I think you're correct. The particular questions you are referring to would be premature in an initial contact phone conversation--although depending on the depth of the conversations, there could be exceptions. - by Gary A Boye
I thank you all for your replies and will take somethings under consideration. I do like the idea of asking the question about the length of time of the call or duration, I could be saving the guys a lot of time by asking this question during the phone conversation. I do get a few people that think a proposal will be done in a couple of minutes. - by Chris_Smith
I do get a few people that think a proposal will be done in a couple of minutes.
Chris, you're probably familiar with the term, "purposeful call." It often applies to outgoing phone calls in selling. But it really applies to any call, especially face-to-face, and even when invited by a prospect.

A request for an "estimate" or proposal on a home improvement falls into that category.

Top salespeople--the very top--have learned the effectiveness of "interrupting the buying process" when control is too much in the hands of the prospect.

You caller wants an estimate--that's HIS "purpose." But that's not yours. Yours is to engage the prospect in the steps of a solid sales interview which can't be accomplished in the time the prospect has slotted for his purpose.

So--when the prospects asks for "someone to come out and give us a proposal", I have always stated, "I'll be happy to come out personally to take a look at the project and discuss what you have in mind." - by Gary A Boye
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