There are some answers during qualifying that require “digging in.”

Ask follow-up questions when qualifying

When I listen to junior sales reps that are still learning to qualify, it often sounds “robotic.”

I notice this particularly in the transitions between questions. After a prospect gives an answer, a junior rep will go straight on to the next question, like a receptionist collecting info at the DMV.

There are some answers during qualifying that require “digging in.” This includes any answer that is ambiguous, confusing, or seems like it might be just the tip of an iceberg.

An experienced sales rep will ask follow-up questions to dig deeper into surface-level answers.

For example, if you ask a prospect, “So, Carol, when would you like to get this program started?”

And Carol answers, “Sometime in the next couple months.”

That’s a surface-level answer.

Junior reps will often accept this answer and move on to their next qualifying question. Because they don’t know what they should be listening for.

A senior sales rep, on the other hand, knows that when it comes time (at the end of the call) to battle objections and hold the prospect accountable to their qualifying answers, you need something specific and well-explained so that you can set clear buying expectations and action items.

Knowing this, a senior sales rep is going to dig in for a more specific answer …

Salesperson: “Carol, did you have a more specific date in mind?”

Carol: “No, not really.”

Salesperson: “I know you mentioned you need to have the program in place before your grand opening. Remind me again, when is the opening?”

Carol: “Oh, that’s right. Yea, it’s on July 4th.”

Salesperson: “Got it, so would you say we should have the program started by July 4th?”

Carol: “Yea, we should actually start it the week before the opening.”

Salesperson: “What about July 1st?”

Carol: “Yea, that sounds good.”

It’s a lot easier to get this information at the beginning of the phone call (during qualifying), than it is at the end of the call (when you’re battling objections).

Because at the end of the call, Carol will be more shy about sharing information that she knows might be used against her to close the deal.

Now that you’ve asked follow-up questions to dig deeper in qualifying, you’ll have a better response prepared when Carol gives you an objection.

For example, at the end of the call, Carol says, “I want to think about it.”

If all you knew was that Carol wanted to get started sometime in the next couple months, you might have trouble battling this objection (because Carol’s sense of urgency is ambiguous).

But because you dug deeper and asked follow-up questions during qualifying, now you’re prepared to handle the objection by expediting Carol’s timeline and setting firm next steps …

Salesperson: “No worries, and remind me, when was your grand opening again?

Carol: “July 4th.”

Salesperson: “Okay, and you said you wanted to have the program start the week before the opening, right?”

Carol: “That’s right.”

Salesperson: “Okay, well today is June 22nd. And it will take a couple days for our operations team to have everything set up. So what if we set our onboarding appointment for June 27th.”

Carol: “That sounds fine.”

Salesperson: “One other option would be to get everything out of the way right now, that way I won’t be wasting your time with another meeting. All we would need is to put a credit card on file … ”

Being able to handle an objection like this at the end of the call, is only possible if you qualify correctly at the beginning of the call.

If you dig into shallow answers with follow-up questions during qualifying, you will have all the ammo you need to battle objections when you ask for the sale.

Originally published here:




Poet and sales leader

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Cole Feldman

Cole Feldman

Poet and sales leader

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