By Frank Visgatis, President & Chief Operating Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Qualification is not “binary”.
Many organizations, when attempting to define sales stages or grading milestone, will often have a step in the process labeled “qualified”. They treat it as a binary event – it’s either a 0 or a 1, on or off. I see qualification quite differently.
Unless you are in a highly transactional, commoditized sale, qualification is a continuum, not a binary event. In other words, with a clearly defined sales process, as an opportunity progresses, it should become better and better qualified.
Some qualifying questions you can use to assess the progression of an opportunity include:
- Will the person I initially make contact with, whether it be proactive or reactive, share with me the business issues or goals driving their interest?
- If so, will that individual then invest the time to help me understand their current business environment and what they feel needs to change moving forward?
- Will he or she then help me get access to other Key Players in the organization (i.e. do I have a Champion)?
- Once I get access to other Key Players, will they go through the same exercise with me?
- Finally, and this is the watershed qualification event, will the buying committee allow me to participate in the shaping and documentation of the steps necessary to complete a true evaluation of my products and services.
If the answer is “no” at any of these steps, you have a quality of life decision to make. Remember that bad news early is good news and don’t “compete” just to stay busy!