QUOTE: "Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

SALES TIP: One area that sales professionals struggle with is finding time to pursue viable prospects and not wasting time with prospects offering little or no opportunity. Pre-qualifying prospects as well as qualifying prospects are two important activities for sales professionals.

Pre-qualifying is an activity involving comparing characteristics of your best customers to characteristics of your prospect. If there are many common characteristics based on the resources you currently have available, then you can consider the prospect pre-qualified. Qualifying means that you take additional steps involving identifying decision makers, contacting the prospect, identifying a need, and beginning a dialogue on how to fill the need.

In pre-qualifying, look for characteristics related to size, market/market segment and corporate values of your best customers. The idea in pre-qualifying is to get your list of potential prospects down to a manageable level by fairly quickly identifying them as viable. In qualifying prospects, talk with decision makers and identify whether there is a need that you can fill. Find out how the prospect is currently getting their needs met. What business processes exist for the prospect that you could impact through supplying a product or service? What current and future business plans suggest an opportunity for you to make a contribution? Who are their competitors? What product or service features does the prospect have to give them a competitive advantage?

The characteristics discussed above are certainly critical in qualifying a prospect, but your primary focus should be not on making a sale but on helping a prospect. The prospect has to believe that you want to help improve their life and their company. You have to be their ally. Most people can see through self-interest. The critical question is "does the prospect have a need that we can fill as well or better than anyone else?". If the characteristics point to "go", then by all means, pursue.

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© Copyright 1997 Sales Training International.