Pre-Qualifying and Making Decisions For Your Customer
This could probably be two separate posts, but I feel the need to get them posted now…..before it happens again. The two are similar yet different.
Pre-Qualifying is simply deciding whether a customer is really a prospect or that they can only spent so much money before you really talk to them. My first job was at a Chevrolet dealership in a small town in Southern Missouri. I was 19 years old and had been on the job for just a week. I knew nothing about selling cars. One morning, an old early 70’s pick up rumbles onto the lot and a very hairy man with a beard and dirty overalls with a dirty t- shirt gets out. All of the “veteran” sellers virtually pushed me out the door to talk to this guy. “Go ahead newbie, this one is yours.” “Giggle, giggle.” To make a long story short, the gentleman walks up to a brand truck and asks, “How much?” I told him the sticker price and he replied, “I’ll take it.” “Well. let’s go do the paperwork.” We pass the smirking “veterans” on the way back in. They assume the guy is wasting my time. When we get to my office, he reaches into the bib of his overalls and pulls out a wad of $100 bills and asks me to count out what I needed. As I walked out to start the paperwork process with a wad of cash, the smirks quickly faded. A lesson was learned that day by the newbie and veterans alike. That scenario played out more often than you would think. Never pre-qualify.
The second part today is vital. Do not decide what your customer will or will not buy. Give them the options and let them say no. Right now, our staff is working on selling our sports programs, High School and University of Kansas. I ask that every customer gets the opportunity to say no to the plans. For some reason that is difficult for people to comprehend. But, that is for another day. One of our sellers, Scott Swedlund, a nearly 20 year veteran of the business called me yesterday afternoon almost giddy. “You will never believe it, but (client name removed to protect the innocent) just bought our Total Sports package. I was just going in to change his commercial and didn’t even have the package with me! I thought his budget was spent.” (Shame on you!) But, to Scott’s credit, he saw an opening and seized the opportunity. You see, this client owns a restaurant and bar. He is trying to attract fantasy football leagues to come each week and watch all of the games at once. Scott asked him a few questions about what each customer would be worth and suddenly the sports package was a viable option. Scott was fortunate to make this one happen because he was prepared when the opportunity presented itself. How many opportunities are being missed because we are deciding what a customer may or may not buy?