Customer leads are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you will not survive. The single most important thing you must know about leads, is that you MUST qualify them before you ever even spend a minute of your time with them. Believe it or not, this is something that even the most experienced entrepreneurs struggle with.
Let me give you an example. When I was Undersheriff, one of the most important responsibilities I had was hiring people to fill positions within the Sheriff’s Office. I’ve sat in on more interviews and oral boards than I can possibly count.
Of course, we had a very standard set of characteristics we were looking for no matter what position we were trying to fill. But each position we hired for – whether that was patrol, jail, admin staff, or command staff – had a very specific and unique set of traits and qualifiers we were looking for. And our application process was such that we eliminated the bulk of our applicants before they ever even sat in front of the panel. If someone met all of our qualifiers, we were then able to invest everything we had in them to help them transform into the deputy they wanted to be.
This same principle applies to qualifying leads for your business. When selling, you are inviting the customer into a story in which their problem gets solved and they are transformed into a better, more fully equipped version of themselves. But, not every customer is the right fit – and you really shouldn’t take your chances on the ones who aren’t. They will waste your time, your money, and your energy.
So you might be asking, “How do I qualify my leads?” Obviously, there is a lot to unpack here and we could spend lots of time talking about. But, here’s what you need to know. A qualified lead meets the following criteria:
- They have a problem your product or service will solve
- They are able to afford it, and
- They have the authority to purchase it
If any of these 3 elements aren’t met, they either need to be resolved in some way, or you need to kindly allow them to find a new direction.