blog post about lead qualification

Written by Laura Farkas

Updated March 23, 2023

How to Qualify Leads Online: A Simple Guide

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Lead generation is usually the main thing people ask us about when they get in touch with LMNts Marketing. However, not all leads are created equal. Quality often counts more than quantity. That’s why we often discuss ways to qualify leads during the sales funnel process. It benefits us and the client, too. Unfortunately, most companies don’t take time to narrow down their ideal clients, and they end up getting mediocre leads. In this post, I will talk about the importance of qualifying leads and the simple methods you can use to add this step to your sales process. 

Why Qualify Leads

If you want a simple answer, it is “because you want to avoid pain”. When I started off as a freelancer, I assumed that everyone was telling the truth, they all had loads of money and successful businesses. Then I realised that the emperor was naked, – well – most of the time. 

You might go into a lot of trouble trying to help someone and even give them nuggets of information just to find out that they: 

A, don’t even have a business 

B, don’t have money

C, have to discuss with the wife or the boss

D, are just shopping around

eliminate bad leads

In either of these situations you might feel like stabbing yourself in the foot, especially if you spent a lot of time and effort getting a proposal together. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that, and have the T-shirt to wear as a reminder. 

How to  Qualify Leads with a Quiz Funnel

It’s important that you ask all the questions your sales team or BDM would ask at the first meeting, so you can avoid disappointment. So, make sure it’s the right lead and it’s not “leading you on” to believe that it is! Here’s the full list of things you should ask in your quiz funnels

The Budget

It’s simple: can they afford you?

You might walk into a Maserati showroom, but you are not going to buy if you just have enough for a Skoda, are you? So why would the salesperson waste his time on you?

They are likely to ask you about your budget at the first meeting, so you should ask your leads, too. 

Why Qualify:

Well, you don’t want to waste your time on people who have no means to buy, do you? Your resources are much better spent on those who have the budget and are willing to open their wallet or submit their credit card details. 


Just ask. You can use a form that asks about their revenue/profits, or simply go straight to the point: how much do they have to play with? Of course, some people will still be bluffing, but – unfortunately – quiz funnels don’t come with a lie detector (yet). 


You will be able to serve your prospects better by being able to point them in the right direction. Also, it’s easier to start a conversation when you know how much the client is willing to fit. You can decide for yourself whether or not you can deliver what they are looking for within their budget. 


Let’s say you are an accountant. Your prospect wants to spend a couple of hundred pounds a year, get their self assessment and payroll done. Your monthly package starts at £150, so this would not be a good fit. Therefore, you can simply save yourself time and advise them that you cannot take on new clients. Maybe send them to another service provider’s site that does semi-automated accounting?

The Urgency

Let’s be honest; we all walked into a store looking for a dress for an upcoming event that is months away. We were considering our options. We were not really motivated to buy anything, but we were interested. Is it really worth having a chat about the accessories, shoes, and the rest if you don’t even know that’s the outfit you are going to wear? 

Your prospects might be in the same situation. So, you can still have a conversation with them, just not a sales one. This is where funnels come in. You can put them on a “lead nurturing” sequence, so they will remember you when they are urgently seeking a solution. 

Why Qualify:

To avoid starting sales conversations with prospects who are not ready for them. It will save you a lot of time, and your prospect will be better served by an educational lead nurturing sequence. 


You simply have to pop the question: “how soon are you looking to solve this problem?” A quiz funnel will allow you to give them multiple options, so you can segment your leads based on the level of urgency. 


Better served prospects, leaner organisation, and improved relationships. Nobody wants to be sold when they are not ready to buy. So, this way you will not scare off future buyers. 


Let’s say that you are a personal trainer. You want to work with highly motivated individuals who want to be fitter in a couple of months. If someone says that the right time is six months from now, you can keep them on your newsletter, but you will know that they are not ready. So, you don’t have to keep their place in your diary; move on to a better, more motivated prospect. 

The Values

This is a biggie. Seriously. We generally don’t work with people who “fake it till they make it”, as they don’t provide value for their clients. And we don’t want to add our name to their marketing. This includes shady investment schemes, pyramid schemes, and affiliate programmes with little or no value attached to the products. 

Why Qualify:

You don’t want to give your name to something shady; do they have a business or are they clueless about what to do? If they are, and they want quick results without building the foundations, you will not share the same values and you will have to part company as soon as you can. 


You can simply ask some qualifying questions, such as: “does your business already make money?” or “Do you have testimonials?” Unless you are working with startups, which means you will have to dig deeper into the business plan to understand whether it’s a good value fit. 


The main benefit of this qualification step is that you will protect your reputation. When you qualify leads online using these highly targeted questions, you avoid becoming “guilty by association”. 


We once “shut down” a client that wanted us to market high end properties to be built. After a bit of research, we found out that the properties would probably never be built as there was a nature reserve nearby. If we marketed the properties and helped the company sell units and take payments, we could have been taking part in a fraudulent activity. 

The Fit

I just had a conversation with a client who told me that his business coach once had a client who only worked with people who signed their mission and vision statements. I know that this is a little bit strange, but – if you think about it  – it does make sense. We all want clients we enjoy working with and those who share our values. So, why not check that you are on the same page before you start working together? This can really make a huge difference in how you qualify leads online. 

Why Qualify:

To avoid nightmare clients and to ensure that they want to work how you want to work. Also, you want to check the ethical side of the business. We have given back accounts that were not a good fit, for example, adult dating or shady property development firms. 


You will need to establish the expectations of the lead, so you know that it’s a fit. If someone has unrealistic expectations you might as well let them down. Or if it is too much trouble for you, or you are out of capacity, that’s another sign that you will have to let them down in a nice way. Remember that there will be people who expect a Ferrari for a Skoda price.


Well to start with, you will only engage with your ideal clients. That’s something, isn’t it? You don’t want to work with anyone or everyone; you want to work with those you can create results for. 


Let’s say that you are a professional photographer and you get approached by a prospect who says: “I’ve done my photos, I just want them adjusted”. This is not what you offer. And you don’t know what the photos are like. If they are bad, you will not want to add your name to them. I remember when I tried to outsource content on a freelance website (once only). It literally took me double the time to edit the content than to write it from scratch. 

The Timeline

If you have to work towards unrealistic deadlines your collaboration will not work. So, you have to make sure that you can take care of your existing clients when taking on a new one. If you ask about the timeline, you will avoid overcommitting yourself. 

Why Qualify:

When you take on something that is a stretch and things go wrong, you will have an unhappy client and your reputation will suffer. Not to mention the stress you might be under trying to work harder than ever to meet the deadlines. 


Simply ask them how soon they are looking to start and how soon they want the project completed or see results. You can qualify leads in the beginning or the middle of the funnel. 


You will be able to plan your resources better and make sure that you are utilising your capacity to the best of your ability. 


Let’s say that you are a trainer and the client wants you to hold 4 seminars at their workplace in the next 4 weeks. You are overcommitted, and you don’t think that the employees would benefit from training that close together. You can suggest spreading out the training over 4 months, and you will still be able to prepare and serve existing clients. 

The Solution

You have to make sure that the solution you offer is the one clients are looking for. We often have people who say that they need help with their PPC, but we know that they would get a better return on their investment using SEO, provided that they can wait. Or we simply know that the solution they chose will not work for them. We just give them a miss. 

It is also possible that people turning to you are looking for an “easy button” that’s not there. Like a startup saying that they “heard” that they could get 5 million TikTok followers in two months. No, thanks… 

Why Qualify:

You need to make sure that the client is looking for exactly what you offer. Or it will end in tears. 


You can ask the client what they are willing to give to get the results. You will also need to remind them of their part of the deal. If they don’t agree, you know that they are not a good fit. 


You will be able to offer the perfect solution for a targeted segment of the market. This way, you will create your own micro-niche and brand yourself as an expert. 


Let’s say you are a weight loss coach. The client is looking for a painless way to lose weight, maybe a pill or gastric band. You offer an exercise program and mindset shift that involves meditation. Is the relationship going to work? Don’t think so!

Reality Check

When we try to grow businesses, we are told to think big. But how big? We once got approached by a national Bingo chain to manage their campaigns. We knew that we didn’t have the time, resources, and tools to do it. Some people would have done it just for “vanity’s sake” but we knew we would have jeopardised our business and reputation. 

Why Qualify:

If you bite more than you can chew, it will backfire. You can avoid complaints, burnouts, and stress if you check whether or not you can comfortably complete the project or help the client. 


Make sure you ask about the input the client wants. They might want weekly meetings, want you to travel to their offices, or call you at midnight. Ask them to agree to your terms before you sign up. You usually qualify your leads using the reality check at the end of the funnel. 


You can have a lifestyle business that works for you, and you don’t have to run around people or try to take on more employees to complete a mammoth task. 


We have had clients who literally expected us to sit with them one morning every week to go through everything. Moreover, they wanted us to collaborate with their freelancers as well. Of course, they didn’t pay for our time. So we parted ways. And since then, we have been making sure that we can deliver what the client expects without stretching ourselves. 

Software to Use for Quiz Funnels

There’s no one magic formula to qualify leads. You might simply create an application form on your Google Forms account. You can use Typeform. Or you can add the qualifying questions to your appointment booking calendar. 

To be honest, we do all of them. The more you know about your prospect the more you can match their expectations or the sooner you will know that they are not a right fit. 

To Wrap It Up: Qualify Leads for a Smoother Running Business

Lead generation is just a start. Artificial intelligence and marketing automation tools can help you make sure that your prospects are a good fit, you can deliver them results, and you will enjoy working with them. 


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