When selling, I have always found it useful to have a process in place to help determine if a prospect is someone I can truly turn into a customer. Every prospect I meet must seriously qualify me enough to invest my time. While you will find situations where a prospect doesn’t meet all your qualifying criteria, that doesn’t mean you simply blow off the prospect as being unimportant. In those situations, continue to spend a little time building a relationship, then at some point in the future when your prospect is still in a position to buy, or knows someone who might be, you are ready to make a sale happen.
Their Current Situation
In the equipment business, selling is a relational process, and as I take a prospect through my qualification process, I want to be sure that I am making that prospect as comfortable as possible. The first question I like to ask is a simple: “Do you have one now?” type question. If you have a prospect looking at a zero-turn mower, a UTV, or a tractor, then I would ask him, “Do you currently have a (zero-turn mower, UTV, or a tractor)? If the answer is yes, then I follow up with “What do you have, and what about it do you like the most?”
If the prospect has a competitor’s product, but is in my dealership, I know that my competitor has dropped the ball somewhere along the way and I can use that to my advantage later in the selling process. By the prospect telling me what it is he likes most about what he has, I can make sure when presenting my product, that I spend time highlighting how my piece of equipment provides the same features he likes. My goal is to understand why that prospect came to me so I can use that later in the sales presentation process.
Likes and Dislikes
My next question is: “So, if you could change or improve anything about the piece of equipment you have now, what would it be?” Asking this question allows me to target my sales presentation on key selling points, rather than dumping information about every feature my equipment has.
Money matters
I then transition to the money question, and ask, “So, if you find what you’re looking for, what sort of budget do you have?” It’s important that I make sure that what I am going to lead them to is within range (15 to 20%) of what they want to spend.
Decision Maker
My next question involves the time frame in which that prospect is wishing to make a final buying decision. This will help me determine what level I want to take him into my presentation. My final question involves asking him who will be making the final decision to move forward. It’s a delicate question, so I normally ask, “Who, other than yourself, would be involved in making the final decision?” I learned long ago in sales not to assume that you are speaking with the decision maker. I always ask that question to make sure a wife, brother, business partner, or someone else, doesn’t need to be involved before I start the presentation.


Vanessa Clements

Dealer Development Team