Why You Need To Change Your Pre-Qualification Interview

Every Lead is An Internet Lead

As salespeople, we have to admit that we get a little excited every time we sit down with a new client. It doesn’t really matter whether that client came through the front door, called us on the phone, or took the time to send an email. We get that thrill with every possibility of a win.  

Go ahead— stick it to the competition. But more importantly, serve a client what they need.

We’ve spoken before about how we need to treat each client differently as they come to us through different channels. But that’s not entirely accurate. We treat those clients differently if they come for different reasons. Some come for a family sedan, while others need the strength and capacity of a pick-up. It’s very simple to determine those answers. We do it every time we start a conversation.

“May I ask how you heard about us?”

This however is where many people in sales fail to establish a meaningful relationship. A few misaligned questions, and everything falls off the rails. The next thing you know, you’ve sent those potential clients down the road to the competition.

What happened? Did you say something wrong? Did you just not mesh with them?

While it’s often a lack of or misaligned message in your dealership, it can also come down to your qualifying questions.

We start off with questions to build rapport and establish a connection. We also ask those questions so we can group clients into different pillars. Once we know and understand the similarities between those pillars, it becomes easier to build that rapport and establish a long-term relationship.

So what are you missing?

The answer can be scary to some, but it’s actually an assumption. The question of where a client heard about you can be too open ended. To pre-qualify them, you want to narrow down the pillars as quickly as possible. The way to achieve that is to side-step the open ended question altogether and make an assumption.


Yes, assume.

Don’t worry, an assumption isn’t going to get you into a hot mess. It’s going to make your job easier; a lot easier, in fact. In today’s marketing landscape, the easiest assumption to make is that they came from the Internet. At some point, they’ve absorbed digital content somehow either through you, your competition, or your manufacturer.

Test it the next time you have a potential client in front you!

Adjust your pre-qualifying questions

“Have you done any research online?”
This is a simple yes or no question. If they have, your next question will tell you a lot about them.

“What did you learn?”
The answer to the second question will not only tell you how much they know or don’t for that matter, but how favourably they think of your brand. It can also tell you how far along the purchase journey they’ve come so you don’t waste their time explaining concepts they already know.

In two short questions, you’ve opened the door to their world

With that magic number of 85 percent of potential buyers having already been to your website, then your assumption that they came at least in some part from a digital source is going to make your job easier. You’re going to establish a stronger relationship faster so you can get to their pain points more efficiently. They will think you can read their mind— and in a way you are— to jump to the common answers.

The other benefit to assuming they’re versed in your digital marketing is the release of the tension you’ve been carrying around. Relaxed, you’ll be able to build that rapport more effectively. You won’t be searching for things to say because you’ll be better prepared. Your marketing and operations processes will become easier when you start focusing on the clients’ needs.

The best part about this process is that the small number of people who haven’t come through a digital channel can be wowed all the more when you show them what they’ve missed out on.

Take a load off by changing a simple question.

Now it’s time for you to think about your pre-qualifying questions. Adjust them to change those pillars and start making relationships easier. There is a time for opened-ended questions, but you want to be in control.

We’re all online … all the time. Now it’s time that you acknowledge and embrace it.


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Jason Harris


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