How to Tell the Difference Between Good and Bad Sales Prospects

Imagine being a rookie sales professional trying to make your manager proud. You could be in virtually any industry – real estate, auto sales, or whatever. But let’s assume that you are an insurance broker who specializes in health insurance and other employee benefits. How can you tell the difference between good and bad prospects?

Being able to separate the good from the bad is that which separates the most successful sales professionals from those who just manage to get by. The best in the business identify good sales prospects and focus their attentions on them.

Sales is a lot like pro sports in the sense that you do what works. An Olympic athlete competes in those events at which he excels. He doesn’t put a lot of time and energy into events in which he is marginal. As a new sales professional, you would be wise to do the same thing.

Willing to Participate

One of the easiest ways to separate good clients from bad is to engage their participation. For example, insurance brokers at BenefitMall encourage sales prospects to participate in the process even before the first face-to-face meeting. They offer the example of asking prospects to complete a short survey outlining their basic insurance needs.

Prospects that actually complete the survey prior to the initial meeting are actively participating. They are demonstrating an interest in what the broker represents. They might also be demonstrating a genuine need for new health insurance products.

Likewise, those prospects unwilling to complete the survey are demonstrating they do not have a burning need for new insurance. There is a good chance that the initial meeting will be canceled. And even if it is not, the prospect may not give their full attention to finding the best benefits package available.

Eager to Ask Questions

Another telltale sign of a good prospect is getting a lot of questions prior to that first sit down. Prospects with questions actively want to know more about what you are selling. They probably want to know what their options are. At the very least, they are trying to get some basic answers so that they know what to expect at your meeting.

An absence of questions represents an absence of curiosity. A prospect with no questions may very well sit and listen to your entire presentation. They might be cordial and polite, offering customary business chatter that maintains a professional interaction. But when all is said and done, the meeting is a one-sided affair. You do all the talking and they sit listening. Who knows what they are thinking about?

Questions are good. They demonstrate interest. Good prospects ask about:

  • group health plans
  • provider networks
  • premium estimates
  • additional benefit options (dental/vision plan, 401(k), etc.).

This is not to say that you will land every prospect peppering you with questions. It’s simply to say that questions equate to an open door. That’s the best you can expect from most of your prospects.

Scouting the Draft

Perhaps closing with another sports analogy will tie all of this up nicely. To that end, think of scouting sales prospects like scouting football players in the months leading up to the annual draft. As a pro scout, you don’t want to waste your time on players with very little potential. You want your team to put its efforts into those players actually capable of making a contribution.

Approach prospects the same way. Learn to recognize the good from the bad. Then, put all your energy into the good ones. Your book of business should improve as a result.