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Defining a Qualified Lead, Pt. 1: Is My Lead Qualified?

Sharon Swendner

Sharon Swendner is vice president of dealer relations at Cirrus Solutions, a dealer management system and marketing program provider built by dealers for dealers http://www.cirrussolutions.com.

Editor’s Note: This blog post is Part One of a four-part series that will be released weekly.

Dealers have the opportunity to speak with many people who call, email, visit their website or come to their location. When meeting these people, or leads, it can be difficult to know who is “qualified” and who is not.

This is important to know because, as in all businesses, resources are limited and pursuing relationships with the wrong people can cost your business time and money.

This is why focusing on qualified leads, those your business defines as having a higher likelihood of becoming paying customers, can help your sales efforts be more effective. 

So how do you know who the right people might be and what they look like?

It’s one of several questions. The others being: Who should you focus more energy on and who is not qualified? What actions can you take to drive the best quality leads possible? Where do you focus your efforts? How do you identify that someone is a qualified lead and when?

These are some of the questions that will need to be answered and understood to help drive your business effectively.

As you begin to define what a qualified lead is for your business, here are some concepts to keep in mind:

  • Being a qualified lead is not necessarily a state, but a process
  • Being qualified can have different levels and timelines
  • Being qualified can change over time
  • Not everyone will fit into the “box” definition of qualified lead

Understanding, identifying and focusing on a lead as “qualified” requires some steps and processes to leverage. It requires knowing who your buyers are and what common characteristics they may have. These commonalities can be demographic and/or lifestyle related. It’s also important to consider where they are in their decision cycle.

In this four-part series on “How to Qualify a Lead,” we’ll go over some of these steps and processes. The information will help you as you start laying the foundation of answering the question “Is My Lead Qualified?”

Blog posts in this series (links coming on a per week basis):

Defining a Qualified Lead, Part 2: Understanding Buyer Characteristics

Defining a Qualified Lead, Part 3: Types and Stages of Leads

Defining a Qualified Lead, Part 4: Qualifying Leads in Person