How Do I Qualify Sales Prospects?

5 minute read

My attempt to answer the question “how do I qualify sales prospects?” is intended for the Disaster Restoration marketer that has been tasked with calling on Insurance Agents and Plumbing companies.

Most marketers in the Disaster Recovery industry (Mitigation and Restoration) are typically asked to market to and develop relationships with Property & Casualty Insurance Agents, as well as Plumbers and Plumbing contractors.

The challenge (and often headache) is knowing exactly where they should spend their time, and with whom should they market. (Ok, I’m trying to use good grammar – but I’m going to continue the way we all talk).

There are usually around 250-400 P&C insurance agents in a typical marketing territory. If you plan to visit each one – once a month (say 300), that means you’ll have to visit 15 agents each working day. Otherwise you won’t be able to visit them all. The fact is: you should NOT be visiting all 300 each month or any month! There is the oft neglected, but extremely critical need to Qualify each prospect so you know who to visit, and which ones should simply be on an email list for periodic promo’s.

Unfortunately, most marketers don’t know they should qualify, or even HOW to qualify a prospect. I’m going to over-simplify it for you since you probably won’t read more than six or seven minutes anyway.

“A” prospects – those that have referred a loss to you within the past 18 months

“B” prospects – those that you feel greatly confident they will send you a loss in the next 12 months

“C” prospects that continually bluff you, make promises they never keep, those that make the following comments to you:

  • “I haven’t had any losses”
  • “I only refer policyholders to ‘claim central’”
  • “We don’t get involved in claims”
  • “We’re not allowed to refer anyone”
  • “We’re happy with who we use now”
  • “Don’t want the liability if the job goes south”
  • “and other bogus – misleading excuses”

Over the years, (more than 20), I’ve been asked “how do I qualify a sales prospect?” and it’s always been a challenge to help marketers make the right decision about each of their prospects. Marketers have said they have a “gut” feeling about a prospect, and that’s good. However, a complete evaluation with logical data, properly analyzed, along with some gut feelings should help establish where the prospect falls in the A, B, C criteria and decision process. 

It’s no surprise in my coaching, that marketers have told me they’ve been calling on agents or plumbers for several years, and they still hope to convert what would be a “C” prospect into an “A” client! WOW, that’s blind perseverance and persistence, but certainly ill-founded and foolish. For the owner, there MUST be a payback (ROI).

As a marketer, you should be visiting your “A” prospects (which are really clients) since they have been referring losses to you) every month at minimum. These are clients sending you jobs – they should be “thanked” with treats, pizza, or other ‘gifts.’

It’s my strong opinion that “B” clients in general should only receive “gifts” once they have become an “A” client. And, “C” prospects are not entitled to any freebies, or giveaway’s, or handouts. They have not ‘earned’ it, and if you properly qualified them, they won’t likely ever earn it.

The same concept applies to Plumbers and Plumbing Companies. They should be qualified according to their engagement and referral process with you. If they refer you, take care of them (many companies pay a referral fee). If they seem very receptive but haven’t yet referred a job to you (and they claim to welcome you, your company, and your referral program) then nurture them and include them in the “B” category.  As always, “C” prospects are not worth calling on. Period. This of the “C” as standing for ‘crap!’ there I said it. Quit wasting your valuable marketing time on those prospects that are not going to send you work.  You are worth more than that, and your employer is paying you for results, not how many “visits” you make each month.

By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC    Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker.

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program.

Owner of blog