How to Filter Sales Enquiries

By Bob Morrell on September 3, 2015

We receive many calls and emails from companies claiming they can enhance our business through marketing, web development or direct mail services.

What’s fascinating is that these enquiries make massive assumptions about our business and with little or no research, assert their ability to ‘be able to help’.

When we make a first attempt to sell something to someone, the big mistake we make is to assume that this person 'needs what I have to sell’.

So I ‘pretend’ that I know about them, and can make a case for my product. Now, this is lazy marketing and lazy selling, because I am likely to be completely wrong in my assumptions.

If you are in business development services filter each prospect by asking a few key questions such as: How do you go about generating business right now? How successful is that?

What is your capacity for generating more? When you win business how successful are you at delivering your services profitably?

Filtering works both ways. When we receive enquiries from buyers we have to ask key questions before we can develop accurate proposals and solutions. If we received an enquiry from a brand, and just said, ‘Great! We know what you need!’ and sent in a massive proposal they may very well laugh us out of contention. We need to understand so much before we can make the case for our proposal. And that means effective filtering.

Without filtering your prospects and your enquiries your business can spend valuable time on valueless activity. Make no mistake, this is a low cost but high value training issue.

7 Key Filtering Questions

1. Ask what previous relationships they have had with firms offering your service.

2. What is the single biggest reason they are open exploring new options now?

3. Which other options are they considering?

4. What is their evaluation method to select the best partner?

5. How will they measure the performance of your service?

6. What is the latest launch date they will consider?

7. If they delay or worse don’t make a decision and the project s shelved, what will the effect be on the business?