Sales Coach Christine Harrington
Qualifying Prospects are Essential AND Why Sales are Lost

Qualifying Prospects are Essential AND Why Sales are Lost

Why Sales are Lost Because of the Sales Process.

Qualifying Prospects are Essential AND why Sales are Lost. Qualifying moves sales through the selling process timeline to close the deal as well as discovering if you, your product and company is a good fit. AND it’s also the reason why sales are lost because red flags are ignored.


How often do you “de-qualify” a prospect? (Yes, that’s a new word I just made up.)

Recently, I went through this exercise with a client. She was struggling with losing sales because of the sales process she was trained to use. In this exercise, she examined her entire prospect list and identified over 65% of the prospects should be de-qualified.

To de-qualify a prospect, the criteria are you, your product and company is not a good fit. Years ago in my selling insurance days, my co-workers use to half joke-half serious, if they’re breathing, they’re qualified!

You may be thinking…all the prospects in my sales pipeline ARE qualified. Take another look Sparky.

I challenge you to examine your prospect list to identify from the perspective are the prospects a good fit for you. You’ll also discover there are clues that cause the attachment to hang on to prospects that will never become an asset.

During the de-qualifying exercise with my client, she often explained why she felt she should “hang on” to this or that prospect. I stopped her and said..”Listen to what you are saying..” She was indulging herself with excuses as reasons for “hanging on to” a prospect. Pay attention to your self-talk as you go through this exercise.

Clue #1 Know the Warning Signs

Just because the prospect expresses interest in your product doesn’t mean they are a viable prospect.

This reminds me of a call I received on Monday. The prospect expressed great interest in my services, and within 10 minutes started asking me about my price. (red flag) The caller interrupted me every time I started to speak. (BIG warning sign) This is not a client I care to work with even though he is a viable prospect. Within 15 minutes of the conversation, I ended the call with the prospect and turned down working with him. It may surprise you to learn, I turn down more business than I accept because I’ve learned it’s not worth the struggle when there are red flags and warning signs.

Know the warning signs and pay attention to the red flags. I’m sure you can recall many clients that are a total pain in the rear who you wish would just go away or never sold in the first place. Right?

Walk away and stop indulging yourself with thoughts that this prospect will be different, or this prospect will change. My experience is they are often worse once they become a client.

I’ve had my client from hell, and I actually made a video about it, a few years ago to warn other sales professionals. This is by far my most popular video on my channel and I still receive emails from sales professionals telling me their horror stories. You can watch it here.

Clue #2 Are you asking the right Questions or Enough Questions

Hubspot featured an article called 21 Sales Qualifying Questions The article makes this important distinction:

During sales qualification, salespeople can’t simply focus on establishing a fit on one of these criteria. They have to establish a fit on all the relevant factors.

When you ignore relevant factors, more than likely you’ll be headed down a dead-end road. If you qualify properly by checking off the boxes that are the relevant factors for qualified prospects, you’ll save yourself time, energy, and frustration!

Take a look at the questions Hubspot featured and see if you can use these questions to help formulate better questions you can ask. When a prospect answers, ‘I’ve never been asked that question before’, or ‘that’s a good question’, that’s a clue you’re on the right road.

Clue #3 There is No Prospect Profile

When I sold insurance products, the joke in our office went like this… hold a mirror under their nose, if they’re breathing, they’re a qualified prospect. Obviously, that’s not a good strategy but I worked with people who believed everyone breathing should be buying! This is what happens when there isn’t a prospect profile.

If your company hasn’t established one, then you sit down and think about who is your ideal prospect. Come up with a list of criteria. If the prospect doesn’t fit your list, then don’t pursue the prospect. In the beginning, you’ll be tempted to pursue the prospect that shows interest but doesn’t meet the criteria. Resist the temptation to pursue…I know this is hard, but once you do, it will get easier. I’m sure you’ve been fooled, as I have when a prospect shows interest or enthusiasm to the point you’re certain the sale will close. I’ve learned this hard lesson, that the easy yes for an appointment, or enthusiasm of your product/service often backfires because it’s tempting to throw the qualifying process out the window. STICK TO THE PROCESS! Fight the temptation.

Know the Red Flags

Here’s a refresher you can read on a post I wrote last year :

Are You Aware of Red Flags when Prospecting? What Are They and How to See the Hazards


If you need more help on prospecting or qualifying, just contact me by filling out the form below to schedule a time we can talk. I’m happy to help.

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Christine Harrington If you need private, personalized help with sales, just complete the form below for your 30-minute complimentary consultation.  

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