Flush Out the Tire-Kickers (990 words)
My client was grousing. "It isn't fair to call our inquirers liars, but they don't tell us much about themselves. Our salespeople say these inquirers are not qualified, so they must be lying."
I replied: "It isn't that inquirers are lying about their needs. They just don't feel compelled to tell you the truth. Maybe you haven't asked your questions the right way."
There are five sure-fire ways to get people to share their buying intentions. If you use these procedures to get people to reveal themselves, your marketing efforts will be fruitful, salespeople will love you, and your prospects will appreciate how much you understand their needs.
1. Steal Your Salespeople's Best Questions
Other than need, desire, time frame and budget, if you don't know what questions to ask your prospects, ask your salespeople. They've learned the questions that separate the serious buyers from the tire-kickers, namely those who want a solution but don't have the money or the authority to buy.
2. Pose the Questions—Don't Be Timid
Most marketers either don't ask any questions, or they ask too many. Whether in a reply card, splash pages on the Web or a trade show lead form, inexperienced marketers usually make the following mistakes:
• They think they're getting too personal when they ask questions.
• They ask only how soon someone will buy, because nothing else matters to the salespeople.
• They ask too many questions at one time.
These errors are all equally bad. If you fail to ask questions, you're doomed to ignorance. Asking only about budget and time frame invites a person to lie. Asking too many questions on a reply card or a splash page, requiring a prospect to scroll down three times to answer every question, also dooms you to failure. The prospect may get aggravated and click through.