Not all sales leads hold the potential for becoming sales prospects. There are many reasons for this including:
- Cannot be Contacted – Some prospects may fit the criteria for being a prospect but gaining time to meet with them may be very difficult (e.g., high-level executives).
- Need Already Satisfied – Prospects may have already purchased a similar product offered by a competitor and, thus, may not have the need for additional products.
- Lack Financial Capacity – Just because someone has a need for a product does not mean they can afford it. Lack of financial capacity is major reason why sales leads do not become prospects.
- May Not Be Key Decision Maker – Prospects may lack the authority to approve the purchase.
- May Not Meet Requirements to Purchase – Prospects may not meet the requirements for purchasing the product (e.g., lack other products needed for seller’s product to work properly).
The process of determining whether a sales lead has the potential to become a prospect is known as “qualifying” the lead. In some cases, a sales lead can be qualified by the seller prior to making first contact. For instance, this can be done through the use of research reports, such as an evaluation of a company’s financial position using publicly available financial reporting services. More likely, sellers will not be in a position to qualify leads until they establish contact with a lead, which may occur in activities associated with either Making Initial Contact or The Sales Meeting.