Qualifying Your Customer…. 

When you hear the word qualify, do you feel overwhelmed?   Questions such as, “Was that lead qualified?” are asked with every prospective job.  So, we ask the qualifier if the qualifying for the qualifications were correctly qualified – huh?   

Qualifying boils down to asking simple questions to understand the need of the customer.  Also, it allows us to show the customer that your company is the “right fit” for their project.

We all qualify.  When you purchase a car, clothing, shoes or decide where you want to live, you go through a qualification process. 

 

For going out to eat, there is a qualification process:  

 

First Set of Questions:  How much can you spend?  What are you willing to invest in this meal?  How are you going to fund it?  Pay by cash or debit card – Put it on a credit card and pay for it over the next few years.

Once you know about how much you want to pay, additional questions arise – these questions can come in any order once you know the answer to the first question.

  • Do you want to go alone or with someone else or with a group?  This question helps to narrow down your choices of type of restaurant and if it is only your decision where you go to eat.  If you want to go by yourself, you think about if you want to eat at the bar or at a table by yourself.
  • How hungry are you?  Do you want an appetizer and a drink, or a meal?
  • What do you want to eat?  Pasta, steak, fajitas, seafood, hamburger 
  • What type of atmosphere is important?  Quiet – more adult; Comfortable – lots of families with small kids; Fun – sports bar, or Trendy 
  • What type of service?  Quick. Friendly. Formal.
  • What type of wait?  Reservations required or wait in line.
  • What time do you want to go – straight after work or later?  What do you want to wear – do you want to make time to change clothes?

You get the picture.  Most of these questions are done automatically.  You don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about what the next question needs to be – you know instinctively what the next question is to get you to the right restaurant.

 

This process can be applied to qualifying your roofing customers.  The questions follow the same logical steps and are a natural flow in a conversation.

  • How much are they willing to invest in their roof?  
  • How are they going to fund the roof?  Capital Budget or Expense?
  • Is this a budget number for the next year or is the roof to be done quickly? 
  • Is your contact the decision maker?  If not, who is making the decision or is it a team decision?
  • When will a decision be made? 
  • Is the existing roof damaged (emergency) or out of warranty?
  • Have they been “shopping around” for a new roof?  
  • If they have been shopping around, what do they find to be unclear in other contractors’ presentations?  What other scopes of work were submitted?  
  • Who are the other contractors that may be in the running to be considered for their project?  
  • Are they local contractors?  
  • Are they national contractors?  
  • Do they have an office in the area? 
  • How do they plan to service the facility?
  • Is it a new or re-roof project?  
  • If it is a re-roof, what is the new roof specification? 
  • Same?  More energy-efficient?  Recover?  Tear-off?   
  • What other factors are important to them?  
  • Time?  Service?  
  • Safety?  
  • Quality?  
  • Warranty?  Bonding?  Insurance?  
  • Is there a pre-qualification process?  What is it?
  • What is the process for submitting a proposal?
  • What is the deadline?
  • Once you are chosen as their contractor for the project, what are the next steps?

Your qualification mission is fact finding.  One question may lead to 4 or 5 other questions, based upon the customer’s response.  The above is a sample of qualification questions – it is not all-inclusive.  Qualifying is investigation to ensure that we understand our customer’s requirements and know their expected timeframes.  It is having a conversation with a friend.  

 

Word to the wise:  Just because we have done work with the customer in the past, it does not mean that their requirements have not changed, and we “know” the client.  We are in a fast-paced industry and world – customer’s objectives and goals change.  Customers may have different requirements based upon regions, specific locations (coastal), environment, or situation (disaster response).

 

Qualifying is the process of asking questions to better understand a customer’s requirements.

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