Ungated Conversations Podcast - Jeff Sauer
Jeff Sauer

Profit Pillars

High Touch, Low Touch, Human Touch: Qualifying Leads with Jeff Sauer

How to qualify prospects before your initial pitch meeting
The role of persistence in nurturing prospects
Why it’s important to do more than solely rely on referrals
Profit Pillars logo
Profit Pillars logo

Season II is here!

We're thrilled to announce a new season of Ungated Conversations! Meet your new hosts Jiaqi Pan and Rachel Kreis.

Do you find yourself constantly dialing numbers, just to wind up in a voicemail box? Or, maybe worse, dealing with prospects that clearly are not interested in what you are selling? 

Chasing unqualified leads may still land you a few deals won, but, overall, the practice wastes a lot of time and effort on accounts that were actually never in a position to close. 

Here to share advice on finding quality leads before investing time and resources into an account is Jeff Sauer, Founder & Lead Coach at Profit Pillars, a one-to-one coaching pipeline program that works to fill pipelines with quality leads through better prospecting strategies.

Qualifying Prospects Before Making Initial Contact

In his recent article on LinkedIn, Jeff offers five tips to land premium clients. One of the main pieces of advice is qualifying your prospects before the pitch. 

Inbound Prequalification

Assuming your team is in a position where the pipeline is full, Jeff tells us that the prequalification process can work to provide you with only the highest quality of clients. He believes there are two ways to perform prequalification on inbound leads — on your own and by directly asking your clients if they are qualified. 

Jeff shares some of the first aspects of a prospect that he digs into during the prequalification process.

Using tools such as LinkedIn to guide you, begin by performing some research on the company. Is your point-of-contact in a role that allows them to act as a decision-maker? If not, is it possible to loop in a decision-maker at the company.

Taking this a step further, how long has the company been established? How many employees does the company have on its roster?

Employee count can serve to help extrapolate revenue as well. Jeff recommends taking the number of employees and multiplying it by $100,000. For instance, it may be safe to assume that an organization with 45 employees boasts a revenue of $4,500,000. By using this tactic, you can then ask if the prospect fits within your revenue target. 

To differentiate “tire-kickers” from seriously invested buyers, look into the functionality of the company’s website. Are they asking you questions about services that you actually provide? Does the prospect appear to be educated in the marketplace? 

This process should move quickly, allowing you to answer questions such as these in less than a few minutes. If the responses to these inquiries are overwhelmingly negative, the process will allow you to disqualify a prospect before investing a ton of time and resources into the account. 

If the answers are mixed or overwhelmingly positive, you can take the process a step further. Instead of immediately developing and performing a pitch, jump on a brief call with the prospect.

This call can be used to ask the prospect exactly what they are looking to gain from talking with you. Ask them if they have ever gone through this type of process before, and develop a strong understanding of where the prospect is in the buying process and how you can turn the account into revenue.

Outbound Prospecting

On the other side of the equation, outbound prospecting should serve to find clients that fit the same criteria used to qualify inbound leads. Outbound prospecting allows you, the seller, to make crucial distinctions early in the process. 

Jeff tells us that inbound prequalification brings dilemmas that are difficult to navigate. 

“Inbound clients have been interacting with your posts, listening to your podcast… they are familiar with your company. Are they commercial, or are they more of a fan?” Jeff asks. 

Just because a client is hyper-aware of your company and its offerings does not directly translate into a guarantee for the deal to close, and a client reached through outbound prospecting may actually sign on the dotted line sooner.

Nurturing Prospects Through High, Low, and Human Touchpoints

Jeff believes there are two separate levels of awareness to examine when looking into prospects: are they aware of the problem they are facing, and do they know the best possible solution to that problem? 

Walking prospects through the stages of awareness by explaining their problem and their possible solutions to them is crucial to landing more deals. 

Once a prospect is fully aware of their problem, help them understand the solutions available to them and the implications of adopting these solutions. In this case, sales scripts can assist sellers with simplifying and standardizing the process — making the experience clear and concise for the end user. 

“You can actually have a sales script where you ask questions and, based on their answers, you can create decision trees, so if they answer this way, then offer them this, if they answer this way, then offer them that,” Jeff says. “So we use questions in the decision tree to make an offer. Then, you use the script to describe the offer every single way for them.”

Jeff believes that sellers get trapped in the idea that every offering should be unique, but also in the idea the entire process should be streamlined. While neither is entirely feasible, Jeff believes both should be taken into consideration by a design Jeff calls “semi-custom”.

“I think you can sell them the house, and they can choose what color the exterior is and what tile they want in the bathroom. But you're not telling them you're not selling a different house. So, you're giving them a small bit of customization, but generally speaking, if you ask the right questions, and you have your offer tuned in right, delivering on that offer should be pretty straightforward,” Jeff says

By approaching a prospect in this way, sellers can consolidate the steps of the process to make each experience feel customized for the buyer, without rolling out a fully customized process. By performing the problem analysis and solution-matching processes out of the prospect’s sight, the end result — the final offering — feels organic and fine-tuned, promising more closed deals. 

Want to learn more about clarifying touchpoints (and when to use them) to boost your results? Tune into Spotify,  Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts, or listen to the full episode below, where Jeff shares more in-depth insights into prequalification, efficient touchpoint management, and more.