Have you ever spent an hour or more preparing and giving an eloquent demonstration to a prospect, only to learn, that they couldn't use the features, couldn't afford it, or are not authorized to make the final decision? You may be a great closer, but it doesn't matter how many closes you know, if you're not closing a qualified prospect.

It has often been said that sales work, is largely a matter of getting the prospect to see the product. Many salespeople think if they can just give a dynamic presentation, with bells and whistles to show how incredible their product or service is, that the prospect will have to have it.

A Champion knows better. A Champion knows that qualification is the key to high production. Champions don't waste their time, and the prospect's time, in demonstrating a product or service until they know that the prospect is qualified to make that final decision. The great part is, most prospect's can be qualified very simply, even over the phone. Take the following steps for qualifying, use them for your product or service and you'll be able to watch your closing ratios soar.

Step 1 - Find out what they have now. This makes sense, doesn't it? A simple answer to this question can tell you they already have what you're selling.

Step 2 - Find out what they like most about the product or service they have now. If they hate the fact that what they have now is orange, and all you have is a similar product in orange, that is something that you can prepare for. If you are able to see an objection coming, you can prepare for it and overcome it smoothly.

Step 3 - Ask what they'd like to see altered or improved in getting this new product or service. This valuable question will most often give you their "hot button" -- the major factor in making a positive decision.

Step 4 - Find out who, in addition to the prospect, will make the final decision. You need to know prior to giving a demonstration if you'll be talking with all of the decision-makers. If not, you need to make arrangements to do so.

Step 5 - Ask if they're in a position to proceed if you demonstrate that you have the right product or service for their needs. They may want what you have, but have other obligations to fulfill or financing to arrange, before going ahead.

By asking these five simple questions as early as possible, you'll be much better prepared to handle each demonstration and close more sales.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hopkins has trained over 5 million sales professionals on 5 continents. Download a free MP3 of his formula to quickly qualify potential buyers here: http://www.tomhopkins.com/salesacademy. The MP3 link is halfway down the page.