How to Qualify a Buyer to Ensure You Dont Waste Your Time?
The age-old phrase- ‘Time is money’ coined by Benjamin Franklin holds true not only for the buyers but for the salespersons too. Often, construction equipment buyers don’t realise the importance of the salesperson’s time and waste lot of their energy and efforts. Either buyers do it unknowingly as they are highly confused or highly sceptical about their investment or they do it knowingly to get the maximum benefit from the salesperson. So, the time has come that salespersons should take charge.
Qualifying buyers to reduce time wastage
Enough has been said about the buyer’s time and money, it is high time that we discuss about the salesperson’s time too. So, here are some tips for salespersons to help them qualify a buyer to ensure that their time is not wasted unnecessarily.
Generally, in a sales transaction, it is only the buyers which are seen as the decision makers. However, even salespersons need to decide as to whether they want to entertain the buyer or not and to what extent. Most of the times, salespersons are seen investing lots of their time and resources only to find out that it is a poor lead and the buyer may actually not buy any equipment. Thus, looking at the buyer and his requirement, salespersons should decide as to how much time and energy should be dedicated towards the buyer in question. For that sales persons should ask certain questions so as to identify the right potential buyer. It’s called the ‘BARTS Method’.
Let’s take a look at those questions...
1. Does the buyer have the requisite Budget?
This is one of the most challenging questions that should be answered by the salesperson at the first as ascertaining the buyer’s budget is not easy. Most of the times, the buyers reveal information regarding their budget in the beginning only, however, if they don’t do so, salespersons should ask the buyer this question either directly or indirectly. If the buyer fails to provide a definite answer or even give a slight indication of their budget, few follow-up questions should be asked by the salesperson to get the right answers. These questions can be:
• Based on what we have discussed, the right equipment that you are looking for can fall in the range of...So, does that fit within your budget?
• Our equipments typically fall between...Does it suit your budget and this is what you are expecting?
These questions will definitely reveal some information about the buyer’s budget. The buyer might say, “That’s out of my budget” or “That is what I am looking to buy? This can help the salesperson in deciding about how much time he should give to the buyer in question.
2. Does the buyer have the Authority to strike the deal?
The buyers that come to any salesperson may or may not have the authority to finalise the deal or sign the payment check. Hence, salespersons should find out about this in the beginning only as often this may lead to time wastage and repeat efforts as they might have to convince the right authority all over again. In order to determine who the decision maker is, a salesperson should ask the following questions...
• If we strike a deal, how and who would make the final decision?
• Is there anyone else who will be coming into picture when making the final decision?
It is very much possible that the answers to these questions will reveal who really has the authority to take the decision.
3. Is the Revenue generated from the deal worth your time?
It is very essential for a salesperson to assess the revenue potential of the buyer in early sales process as this can save a lot of his efforts and help him decide whether the buyer is worth investing time or not. A salesperson can know this easily if he has been able to uncover the budget of the buyer successfully.
4. What is the buyer’s Timeframe for making a decision?
It can be really frustrating when you invest hours after hours into a sale and the buyer to only find out that even after 6 months, the buyer has not been able to make the buying decision. Thus, it is extremely essential that salespersons determine buyer’s timeframe for decision making. This does not mean that they should ignore the buyer completely.
To determine the buyer’s timeframe, they need to ask the following questions to the buyers...
• Tentatively, by when you would make the final decision?
• What is your deadline for closing this deal?
Chances are that the buyer would tell his point of view clearly but if the salesperson fails to get any specific answer, then the alarm bell should ring in his mind and he should motivate the buyer to make the decision as soon as possible. However, due to various complexities, some deals might take a very long time to get closed. So, salespersons need to keep their cool and don’t let the buyer go. In fact, they should nurture that buyer at all times.
5. Does my Solution add value?
Salespersons should never sell anything that does not add any value to the buyer and his business. For that, salespersons should ask this question and determine the answer of it at an early stage. If a salesperson feels that the product or equipment that he is offering is adding value, then he should go ahead and sell it to the buyer. If not, then he should step back and should not sell anything that the buyer does not need and thus maintain his position as a trusted advisor in the eyes of the buyer.
In a nutshell
Thus, if as a salesperson, you have an opportunity where the buyer has an appropriate budget, buyer has the authority to make the buying decision, the revenue generated is worth your time and energy, decision will be made in a timely way and the solution you are offering adds value to the buyer, then it is absolutely worth your efforts and you should invest considerable time on that buyer!