There is no such thing as an unqualified prospect. That’s right. They don’t exist. Yet I’ve heard countless sales managers ask their salespeople whether or not a prospect is “Qualified.” Maybe even YOU have asked that question of people on your staff. Well, it’s the wrong question. Don’t believe me? Then follow along with this logic and truth.
Ever looked up the word “qualify” in the dictionary? If so, you know the definition is “to prove one’s fitness for a particular service or purpose” (She was QUALIFIED to perform brain surgery).
So in a sales environment, who is really “qualifying” whom? Who is serving whom? Should it be the prospect vying to “qualify” for an opportunity to buy from you? Really?
I submit that it’s the PROSPECT who is trying to determine whether or not YOU, the solutions you offer and the company you represent are qualified. It is, therefore, the salesperson’s responsibility to determine what the prospect needs to see to be certain THE REP is qualified, not the other way around.
Here’s a classic example. A rep says “I lost a deal. The customer bought on price. It turned out they weren’t qualified.” Wrong. The REP wasn’t qualified. Why? Because they didn’t have a solution that fit the buyer’s budget, or couldn’t prove there was enough value in their solution to justify the price. Was the BUYER unqualified? No. They bought from someone else who was.
This is why “qualifying” is so incredibly important. The sooner you figure out what a prospect will need to see to be certain you are more “fit for a particular service or purpose” than their other alternatives, the sooner you can determine whether or not YOU are “qualified” to win. If you aren’t, the sooner you can DIS-qualify yourself and move on to the next deal.