Use the process of qualifying a complex sales prospect to weed out low probability opportunities

We recently had an opportunity to participate in 2 conversations with a contact for a prospect for one of our clients’ products. These conversations were intended to provide us with at least the basis for composing a picture of any quantifiable value that our products might deliver to this prospect. We were surprised to determine that the process, itself, provided us with a means of qualifying the low likelihood of making a sale for this prospect, at least through the contact who partcipated in the conversations with us.

The telltale indicators that we ought to be moving on to higher probability opportunities were found in the contact’s candid assessments of the conversations themselves. Based upon the questions and process of our conversation (entirely composed of a set of questions designed to facilitate free disclosure of any aspects of the prospect’s operations that would impact on the usefulness — or lack thereof — of our client’s offer) it had become clear that our offer would be “expensive” (?!) The sole reason that we can identify for this assessment was the fact that we asked a lot of questions. Evidently this contact had concluded from prior experiences that sales people who ask a lot of questions sell expensive products. When we digested this information we made two key decisions:

  1. These prior experiences with sales people who ask lots of questions had produced substantial projects
  2. Historically, our contact either failed to quantify the value of these projects, or had not participated in the final purchase decision

In retrospect, we need to note how valuable the qualification process had proven to be. After all, we had now determined that the contact involved in these 2 discussions constituted a low probability contact. In a mere 2 hours of our time we had collected enough information to support a decision to move on to other opportunities. Without our qualification process we may have spent 10 hours or more trying to run this contact down. The key for us, of course, was her statement that our qualification process indicated a high cost offer. In sum, she had let us know that she was after a commodity to satisfy an internal need, which our client does not offer. Any further momentum on this opportunity will have to be driven by this contact as our time will be better spent elsewhere.

If your company produces products that must be properly positioned for enterprise business customers it may well be that you, too, understand the need for a highly qualified sales process to produce the right type of opportunity from the market. We would like to hear from you.

You may telephone Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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