One area many sales reps struggle in is how to requalify existing accounts, or prospects they haven’t spoken with in a while. Let’s first establish the need to do this, and we’ll address exactly how to do it.
First let’s acknowledge that all things change. In fact, someone once said that the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. It’s constant. And that means that just because a prospect or client was in charge of a certain function last month or 6 months ago, it doesn’t mean they are in charge of it today.
In addition to their duties changing, their areas of responsibilities change also. Someone who was responsible for handling lead flow may now also be in charge of ordering those leads. Or someone who was responsible for one area of the business (and ordering) may have given that responsibility to someone else.
The bottom line is that it’s important to do more than just, “Oh hi, just calling to see if you need anything?” Today, it’s important that you requalify the person you’re speaking with and try to find as many opportunities as possible to sell your product or service.
One of the biggest problems sales reps have is knowing how to transition into requalifying. The resistance I get from sales reps is, “But I spoke with him three months ago! I already know what he does.”
“Yes,” I answer. “But how many times have you found that things have changed since then?”
If you’re honest, the answer is it changes all the time.
So what you need to begin the requalifying process is a good transition sentence, a soft approach, so you can begin requalifying and get the updated information that often makes the difference between a successful call and one that results in nothing at all.
Here are some examples of transition sentences. Remember to adapt them to fit your personality, your product and service:
Transition sentence one:
“________, since it has been a few months since we’ve spoken, let me just make sure my information is correct. Besides yourself, who else handles…”
[This is an assumptive way to find other decision makers in the company…]
Transition sentence two:
“___________, let me get up to date on things with you. I know that last time we spoke you said you handled (X); what else are you responsible for these days?”
Transition sentence three:
“Because things change all the time, let me just ask you a couple of quick questions to make sure I’m up on things on your end. For example, what other products are you handing these days?”
Transition sentence four:
“___________ I’m updating the information on all my accounts this month – do you mind if I just verify a few things?
Great! What is your current extension?
How about your direct phone number? Cell? Email?
And are you still the only contact for all the printing needs there?
What other things are you handling?
How about other departments – who would I want to speak with…
How about your need for (X) – where have you been sourcing that these days?
What would you need to see from us to begin placing an order for that also?
[I’m sure you can think of more…]
Transition sentence five:
“_________, I know the last time we spoke you told me you handled (X), is that still correct?
Great. What else are you in charge of?
How are you handling your (XYZ)?
What other departments are handling the (ABC’s)?
And what other products are you in charge of?
And remind me again of the decision process there?
How about timeline?
And besides yourself, who else would weigh in on this?
And so on…
As you can see, just because you think you know something about someone, you can still learn more. Think about it: When was the last time you were able to thoroughly qualify someone on the very first call? It probably took a few, didn’t it?
When you use these kinds of requalifying questions, you’ll be in a much better position to completely qualify an opportunity. And that can only lead to more business.
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