What are Qualifying Questions in Sales to Save You Time?

Qualifying Prospects

If a prospect is not a good fit for your product or service, they will not buy from you, no matter how good your sales pitch is. You should not waste your time trying to convince them otherwise. Qualified prospects have the combination of an urgent need your product or service can fulfill, the funds to make the needed purchase, and a realization that they should fulfill their need as soon as possible. According to Emma Brudner, writing for HubSpot, there are sales qualifying questions you can ask to make sure you are dedicating your time to the right prospects. What are the best sales questions to ask prospects, including qualifying questions, to accomplish this?

Qualifying Questions: The Best Sales Questions to Ask Prospects

Qualifying Question 1: Problem

What problem needs to be fixed?”

The first step to qualifying prospects is to figure out what your prospect’s problem and/​or need is and if your product or service is the proper fit for them. If your prospect does not have any pressing needs, then they have no reason to make a purchase from you or anyone else. If there is a need or problem you can help with, you are on the right track to making a sale with them. That's why this is one of the best sales qualifying questions to ask prospects.

Qualifying Question 2: Reason for Not Acting to Fix the Problem

What is Your Reason for Not Acting to Fix the Problem?”

This answer is important when developing your sales pitch. With their answer, you will learn if the problem was simply overlooked in the past until there was a change in management or if it was an issue of money. Their answer can help you prepare your pitch in the most effective way possible. Will it be business as usual (if previous management had just put off problem solving), or will you have to emphasize the quality of your product or service to justify its cost (based on their lack of funds being the reason the problem was never fixed)?

Qualifying Question 3: Timeframe 

"What is Your Timeframe for Making a Decision?"

Prospects have their own budget cycles and they know when they're planning to make major investments. If you're selling a product that comes with a hefty price tag, your typical sales cycle make take a year. If your prospect is working on a two-​year timeline in terms of buying the kind of equipment you're selling, you'll want to keep them in the queue, but shift your attention to prospects who are ready to make a purchase in the near future.

Qualifying Question 4: Budget 

Do you have the budget for this solution?”

Qualifying prospects often means tackling the issue of cost. You need to ask outright whether or not they can afford your product or service at the price you are asking for or, if not now, will they be able to in the near future. If they can’t afford it right now, then they are going to try to talk your price down. And if that is not an option for you, there is no business to be had with them at this time. There might be later, though, if their budget is increased, so make sure you don't burn that bridge as you are crossing it.

Qualifying Question 5: Current Expenditure

What is your current expenditure to deal with your problem?”

If your prospect answers the previous sales qualifying questions with an explanation that they do not have the budget for your solution, this question presents a final chance for qualifying this prospect. Reflecting on how much the prospect is spending on piecemeal solutions for their problem can lead them to realize that paying for your product or service could save them money in the long haul. And who doesn't want that?

A great set of qualifying questions in sales can save you time. When you find a prospect who have the money, the authority, the need and the intent to buy, you're ready to move to the next step in your sales cycle.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel writes about marketing and media sales for SalesFuel. She holds a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University.