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Key Points to Understand When Qualifying a Prospect

A key to success in business development, as in any strategic endeavor, is picking winnable battles. A major factor in determining whether or not you’re getting involved in a winnable battle is through qualification. Many organizations pass over taking the time for qualification not realizing how important it is to their sales process and how much it can affect how efficient and effective their sales team can be.

Successful selling involves asking some tough questions and being honest about the answers. Enthusiasm is essential to selling, but hope is not a credible sales strategy.

Here are six key points to understand when qualifying a prospect

  1. Qualifying a prospect is NOT an event, but a continuous process at each stage of the sales cycle,
  2. To qualify a prospect, the first question every salesperson should ask is, “Will this business happen for anyone at all?”  Experience shows that many customer project evaluations don’t ever result in an actual purchase.  When evaluations stall or collapse entirely, one of two things is usually missing: either there isn’t a business problem of sufficient magnitude or urgency, or the project lacks political sponsorship to shepherd it to completion. In either case, a deal won’t happen no matter how compelling your presentation.
  3. If the prospect’s intentions seem credible, thesecond question is, “Is this a good opportunity for my company? “  Sometimes customers will informally preselect vendor for a project without disclosing that fact to the other bidders. There’s little you can do to avoid this trap; you just have to trust the customer’s integrity. But if, in fact, the playing field is level, then it is best to pursue only those prospects where you have a solution fit and differentiating advantages.
  4. One question traditionally asked by salespeople to determine an opportunity’s viability is,Is the money in the budget?”  To some salespeople, this question requires a simple yes or no answer. But if the solution is strategic enough or the sponsor powerful enough, budgets may only be one indicator.  So, to be clear, can you position the solutions your business provides in a manner to provide enough ROI that neutralizes the issue of budget? And if so, HOW?
  5. Ideally, solutions sellers shouldengage in demand creation, rather than demand-reaction selling. Successful Solution Sellers find business problems that need to be solved and create a vision of a solution and a value proposition to drive an engagement, instead of just responding to an RFP.
  6. The last question to ask is even less obvious: “Will this engagement result in a satisfied client and repeat business?”
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