I recently got an email from a distributor asking for help on this scenario: She said she connected briefly with a prospect at a networking event. The prospect asked her to present holiday gift ideas for his clients. She promptly went to work, spent hours coming up with ideas that she believed would be suitable for his target market. The prospect got back to her, nixed all her ideas and said none of them had the wow effect he was looking for and if he was going to spend that much money, he expected more.
Spending hours on research and presenting fresh product ideas, only to have the prospect nix them (or even worse, disappear) is a common scenario in our industry and one that many of us, including me in my early days, have had to deal with.
Here are my suggestions to her and to anyone who can identify with this situation. Spend time qualifying the prospect before you spend hours coming up with ideas for them. Ask questions up-front that will help you know if this is a prospect worth pursuing.
How can you identify good prospects? One solution is to pre-qualify them with questions, such as:
- Are they willing to give you time for a longer conversation about how you can help them?
- Do they have an immediate need such a special event, product launch or trade show coming up?
- Do they have a special challenge you can solve using a promotional product?
- Do they have a marketing budget?
- Are they part of the decision-making process?
- Do they have the ability to give you ongoing business or referrals?
- Do they value your time and input or are they only concerned with finding the lowest price?
Dedicate your time to the prospects that meet your criteria, and if they don't, move along. Save your time and effort for your best prospects.
In the case of my distributor friend, she set up a meeting with her prospect to better understand his needs and how she could best meet them in the future. A serious conversation can go a long way in closing more sales.
I would enjoy hearing from you. What have you done to pre-qualify prospects and make the best use of your time? Please respond below.
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Rosalie Marcus, the Promo Biz Coach, teaches people in promotional products sales how to sell smarter, attract choice clients and increase their sales quickly! She is the creator of The FAST TRACK to Making Money in Promotional Products Sales, Niche to Be Rich Secrets and the Women Selling Smarter Program. Reach her at Rosalie@promobizcoach.com or 215-572-6766. Visit her website http://www.promobizcoach.com for a free special report: 10 Big Mistakes Promotional Products Professionals Make and How to Avoid Them and Double Your Sales!