I’m always bemused by the exalted tone used by salespeople and management when
discussing ‘qualification’.

The presumption seems to be that this activity somehow adds tremendous value to the opportunity-management process. I suspect, in most cases, it does the opposite!

From what I’ve observed, ‘qualification’ typically involves a salesperson making
preliminary contact with a list of opportunities to determine which are likely to purchase in the near term.

Those that are are deemed to be ‘qualified’; the balance, discarded.

Now, if this salesperson is also a project manager, an administrator, a clerk, a PA and so on, I can understand his desire to devote time only to those opportunities likely to convert in the very near future.

However, if this person’s time is dedicated to the conduct of business-development appointments — which is what we advocate — the consequences of this approach are scary!

In filtering a list of opportunities to include only those with an acknowledged, short-term interest in purchasing, the salesperson has filtered-out prospects with a problem, but without an awareness of how to go about solving it.

The remaining opportunities will be those that are more likely to be price sensitive (they’ve already written their own prescription).

The salesperson has also telegraphed to all opportunities that the organisation is the purveyor of a commodity product (and, consequently, that his role in the process is to take an order).

As a result of this ongoing ‘qualification’ process, the salesperson will interface *only* with price-focussed customers.

As a consequence he will form the firm opinion that all customers are relentless price shoppers and that the key to maximising the return on his limited time is to filter sales opportunities even more aggressively!