Determining if the person you are speaking with is a ‘good lead’ is possibly one of the most important face to face selling skills you need to develop.
This is known as ‘lead qualification’ and it’s the process of deciding if a someone is likely to buy from you. At a face to face selling event, you want to qualify leads as quickly as possible because time is money. If it takes you 30 minutes to learn a person can’t afford your product, that’s 30 minutes you could have been spending talking with a real potential customer.
Qualify Leads Quickly, But Not Too Quickly
Is there some way to quickly size up a lead by appearance or behavior? Should you prioritize people that ‘seem’ more professional by the way they look or are dressed? Does seeming more professional make a potential customer more likely to be a decisionmaker?
This depends somewhat on the industry and culture, but in our experience: No.
[quote]Like a book, you can’t accurately judge a good lead by its cover. [/quote]
In fact, when see a well-dressed professional headed into our face to face selling exhibit, we bet there’s at least a 50% chance they are a job-seeker.
Yes, decisionmakers can be…
- Unfashionable and slovenly
- Inarticulate and lacking knowledge
- Inappropriate in behavior or language
Slovenly? It’s not uncommon for American decisionmakers to dress like they are on vacation at face to face selling events. After all, here they are the customer not the vendor.
Inappropriate? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for decisionmakers to use their position to ask inappropriate personal questions (“Are you single?”) or to engage in flirty behavior at a face to face selling event.
Try redirecting the conversation back to business with a relaxed confidence. If that does not work, there is no need to tolerate bad behavior. Get a colleague to take over or let the business go. True good leads can sometimes behave inappropriately, but you have to ask yourself if this person is truly interested in what you have to offer or only what you aren’t offering.
Qualifying Leads with A-C-T-I-O-N
So, if appearances don’t work to qualify a lead, what does?
Stick to the basics. Use what we call the Lead Interview to qualify leads.
[box]Good leads will meet most or all of the following criteria:
Authority – Has authority to purchase your product
Compatibility – Has a compatible budget and purchase process
Timeline – Can purchase in your ideal timeline
Identity – You know their identity, they are willing to share contact info
Obstacles – Has no obstacles to doing business with you
Need – Needs or wants your product[/box]
Check out this article on qualifying leads to learn more about the Lead Interview.
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“Face to Face Selling Skills for the Nervous and Confused!” will teach you to sell like a pro at:
- trade shows and trade fairs
- direct sales exhibits
- direct sales events
- festivals, fairs, home shows, farmer’s markets
- booths, stands, pop-up stores and shops and more
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