The 5 Elements of a Qualified Lead

Inside sales expert Mike Brooks identifies the five things every sales rep needs to know in order to establish a prospect as a qualified lead and take a giant step forward towards closing the sale.

The 5 Elements of a Qualified Lead
People ask me all the time what I think makes up a qualified lead. It’s simple, I tell them, there are five things that every Top 20 percent producer knows when he or she hangs up the phone with a prospect. Know these five things and chances are good you are going to close this prospect. Leave one or two out and chances are even better that you are never going to close this prospect. It’s a simple as that.
Here are the five things you need to know about every prospect you speak with:

1) Decision Maker and Decision Process

When speaking with your prospect, you need to be absolutely clear on whether or not they are the sole decision maker, or who else is involved. Are there more than two individuals involved in the final decision? Also, what is the decision process like? What is involved? Who is in charge? If you’re not  absolutely clear on this when you get off the phone, you don’t have a qualified lead.

2) Time Frame

Part of knowing who and how the decision is made also involves knowing the time frame for making the decision. You must be clear on when the prospect needs your product or service, what type of urgency there is (if any), and when they are making the final decision. Moreover, after getting this information, you need to be clear about what needs to happen next.

3) Competing Quotes

You also need to know what other quotes, products, solutions, or options your prospect is considering. If they have a regular vendor and are getting other bids, you especially need to know:

  • How many other bids are they getting?
  • Why they are looking for other bids? (Do they just need to get to other bids before going with last year’s vendor?)
  • What are they looking for in another bid/product/solution?
  • What will make yours the one they choose?

4) Buying Motives (Needs and Wants)

It is crucial for you to have a clear understanding of what is truly motivating your prospect to buy.  Only when you know this will you be able to pitch to their listening. You must be able to answer these questions:

  • What exactly is the prospect looking for?
  • What are their unique buying motives?
  • What do you need to say to sell them?

5) Why They Won’t Buy

Just as important as knowing why they will buy is knowing why they won’t buy from you. When you hang up the phone you need to know:

  • Why are they really getting another quote?
  • What are some of their sore spots?
  • What are they trying to avoid?
  • Why won’t they buy?

These five elements are the bare minimum of what you need to know about every prospect you qualify. These points form the basis of your qualifying checklist, and you need to have scripted questions that you ask on each and every call to find these thing out.
Editor’s note: This guest post from Mike Brooks originally appeared on his Inside Sales Training Blog.
For more lead qualification tips, watch the videos featuring John Barrows, Co-owner and Managing Partner of sales consultancy Kensei Partners, below:
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What steps do you take to establish a qualified lead?

Mike Brooks
Mike Brooks

Mike Brooks “Mr. Inside Sales”Mr. Inside Sales is the recognized authority on inside sales. Voted one of the most Influential Inside Sales Professionals by The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals for the past five years in a row, Mike is the go-to inside sales trainer and phone script writer in the industry. Mike is the best-selling author of “The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts” which Brian Tracy calls “One of the best books on inside sales phone scripts I’ve seen.” Mike is hired by business owners to implement proven sales processes that help them immediately scale and grow Multi-Million Dollar Inside Sales Teams. For more information, you can visit his website
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