Sales Tips: What Constitutes a “Qualified” Opportunity?

By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®

This is a question that we hear all of the time from people who attend our workshops. This is a topic that is so worthy of discussion that rather than rush to answer the question, I prefer to use it to facilitate a discussion among all of the workshop attendees. It’s interesting to learn what type of qualification criteria are being imposed on the salespeople.

What surfaces very quickly is that companies have defined what is a ‘qualified’ opportunity for their salespeople. With a few variations, it is typically defined as:

  • the prospect admits to having a budget
  • they have a project (I’m still not sure what constitutes a project)
  • and they have a timeline for making a selection decision

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you heard this before?

So now let me ask you an important question:

If the prospect has a budget and they have a timeline, but they DO NOT have a goal, problem or issue that you and your offering can help them address, are they qualified?

According to the above criteria the answer would be, yes. However, I’ve not encountered any prospect who goes out of their way to buy something they don’t want or need.

Sales Tips for Qualifying a ProspectCommon sales sense indicates that a “qualified opportunity” is where FIRST, the prospect has a goal, problem or need that your offering has the ability to help them address.

Without a goal, problem or need that your offering is capable of helping them address, budget and timeline are immaterial. Get it?

Your goal as a salesperson is to have your prospect share with you a business goal that you can help them address. Simply stated: No goal, no prospect. If you don’t know WHAT would make a prospect engage with you and WHY, then he/she is not a prospect.

We will cover “qualifying an opportunity'” and practice techniques on how to get a prospect to admit a “goal, problem or need that you can help them address” extensively in the CustomerCentric Selling® public workshop I’m conducting in Golden, Colorado, June 6-9th.

Why don’t you register now and plan on joining me? Attending this workshop could make the difference in your performance for the entire year!

If I’ve made a point with you, or if I’ve caused you to take pause and reconsider what you are doing, I would appreciate you sharing this article/sales tip with someone you feel would benefit from reading it. Please share it with a peer or a colleague to pay it forward. Good selling!

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