Identifying people as prospects (prospecting) is a very important aspect of growing your speaking business. You qualify speaking leads and prospects by asking three questions.
- Do they have a need for your services?
- Do they have the ability to pay your fees?
- Do they have the authority to engage you?
Always keep these three questions in mind and keep refining your prospect list to help you avoid wasting time calling on people who are unlikely to engage you.
To help you accurately quality your prospects, and make sure you're speaking to the right people, you need to create a list of qualifying questions. For example, as a trainer, a good qualifying question might be, "When do you need to have the training delivered?" The important word in that question is "need". If the person answers that there's no urgent need to have training now, they might just be curious about your rates and are probably not a serious prospect. Send them your marketing material but don't waste your time on them.
Ask Specific Questions
A professional speaker could qualify prospects by asking the specific date of their event. Are they planning on having it within the next month, quarter, year or more? Answers to specific questions like these give you a very good indication of how qualified a prospect is.
You also want qualify prospects by determining whether or not they can afford your fees. In the case of a speaker or trainer, it might be useful to let prospects know that your fees typically range between x and y amount and then ask them if they are prepared to invest that amount right now. If they're not prepared to invest that amount right now, then they clearly cannot afford your services and are not in a position to move forward.
It's also useful to ask prospects the following question: "Who else needs to be included in this decision?" You want to be sure the you're speaking with the right person - that is, someone who actually has the authority to make the buying decision. In the case of a speaker or trainer, for example, you could ask: "Who else should be involved in this meeting?" The answer to this question will clearly indicate who the real decision maker is and will ensure that you're not wasting your time speaking to the wrong person.
Asking these types of qualifying questions during your initial contact (and regularly throughout the sales process) with prospects will help you determine right away whether or not someone is in fact a qualified prospect. To increase sales, you must increase the quantity and quality of prospects. And you can shorten the sales cycle by properly qualifying prospects.
Your task it to create at least three qualifying questions to help you qualify (and disqualify) leads and prospects. Prospects' answers to these questions will help ensure that you're focusing on people most likely to engage you.