Ways To Qualify Sales Leads Over The Phone

Ways To Qualify Sales Leads Over The Phone

One of the pitfalls with using digital channels — such as email, social media, or content — to generate leads is that the leads lack proper qualifications. Just because someone submitted their information through a contact form or responded to your LinkedIn prospecting pitch doesn’t mean that they are qualified as a prospective customer for your business.

As a first step, what you would usually do is to offer a quick phone call and during that initial conversation, you want to establish the following:

  • Do they have a problem that you can solve?
  • Is the prospect a good fit for your business?
  • Is there a valid a interest?

In order to achieve these, you need to know the basics of how to effectively qualify your leads over the phone similar to how professional lead generation services providers would. In this post, we’re going to look at what qualifying questions you can ask them over the phone as well as other tactics to determine whether they are a good fit for you or not. 

Questions to ask your leads over the phone

Always start off by getting permission to ask some questions. The thing you want to avoid doing when starting your first engagement with them is to instantly present them with a pitch. Rather, you want to start off with a friendly introduction and at the same time, give them time to ask you questions first. This will let them know that you’re willing to listen and truly understand their pain points and what they need. Remember that it’s more about how you can help them rather than just selling to them. 

Here are some qualifying questions you want to ask:

What prompted them to connect?

What’s important here is that you can make sure that whatever issues they present you, it is something you are capable of presenting them with a solution. What you can do is introduce yourself and tell them a little bit about what you do and how it’s a little different from what they might be asking for.  You’d soon find out if that’s what attracted them to you but just weren’t able to convey it as best as they could. 

At this point, you’ll quickly know whether you really are what they are looking for or if you might have to redirect them to someone else who can help them. 

Related: Ways to Identify, Qualify and Convert Your Website Leads

Are they also talking to someone else?

If they tell you that they are talking to several other competitors, then it’s wiser not to push on pursuing this lead. The fact that they’re talking to several other people as well is telling you that they see you as their equal. You need to make sure that you stand out from the rest of your competitors. 

What’s your budget/timeline?

In general, buyers don’t want to be the first ones to talk about prices. They’d rather have you state your price first in order for them to determine whether you fit into their allotted budget or not, and that’s not a bad thing. You can use this to your advantage. Present them your starter prices and that you can work out the prices together depending on what they need. The important thing is that you’re both on the same page when it comes to budget. 

Related: Sales Questions to Find and Qualify Customers Pain

Lead qualifying tactics


If you don’t make it clear who you do (and don’t) work with, you cannot expect your audience to know whether they can work with you or not.

Many successful, talented people position themselves as an expert, only to share an inconsistent message that speaks to too many people. It leaves them asking, “Is this for me?”

So, they schedule a call because they think it might be, but within minutes of the call, it’s clear to both of you they are not the right fit. Another wasted call, another slot in your calendar taken, another lead not converted into a customer.

If your messaging is correct and relevant, you will attract the perfect person. 

If it isn’t, you’ll continue to get unqualified leads on the phone, and they will continue to waste your time.

Related: Savvy Ways to Identify and Qualify B2B Decision Makers


Your positioning is how you differentiate yourself from the competition. It’s your brand, values, mission, vision, messaging, and “unfair advantage.”

If you position yourself as the go-to expert in your niche, people will take notice. Everything you do needs to align with this positioning, and it needs to “speak” to the specific avatar you want to turn from lead to customer.

If you want a sophisticated customer who takes action, your price, offer, and messaging have to align with this.

You cannot expect to get qualified people on the phone if your messaging isn’t on point and relevant.

Contain your enthusiasm

Sales professionals, especially the new & the eager ones need to realize that not every sales opportunity is worth jumping at.

If a prospect responds positively to all of your questions, you should assess “the catch”, because there always is one. Try and ascertain the situation and keep your calm. Once you’ve done a thorough assessment, professionally proceed with the sales process.

Analyze and Optimize

Finally, make sure you keep track of everything you are doing throughout the whole process. Always be on the lookout for what’s working well and what’s not, so you can spot opportunities to improve the effectiveness of what you’re doing.

The best first sales calls are always going to be the ones that guide a lead to the next step. Then on to the next, and the next, and so on. It may take a bit of time and effort to hit on the best strategy and then fine-tune it, but once you have, your results will soar.

Related: 8 Sales Questions To Qualify and Spot the Best Tech Leads


Getting leads isn’t just about more, more, and more. This is about you getting the right people on the phone. You need to get your messaging on point and ask them if they’re in the right place.

If they are, they will think, Yep, this is me. I need to speak to this person. If not, they won’t arrange that call, and they won’t waste your time as well as their own.

Learning how to pre-qualify leads before they jump on a phone call has been one of the most profitable things to learn in lead generation. We hope that if you follow this process, you will save time, increase your conversions and lower your costs.

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