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Rethinking Qualifying—Is This Good Business For Us?

by David Brock on August 21st, 2009

Most of the time when we think about qualifying sales opportunities, we focus on the customer situation.  We consider:

  • Do they have a real need to buy, is there some compelling issue, opportunity or problem they have urgency in addressing?
  • Do they have funding for a solution, or will they commit funding once it’s justified?
  • Are they willing to seriously consider as a potential solution provider?

There may be other criteria depending on how you qualify opportunities.

There’s something important missing, it’s an asessment of whether this is good business for our company.  It’s important to think about whether this is a good opportunity for our company.  Too often, we find ourselves in the postion:  The good news is that we won the business, the bad news is that we won the business.  Somehow through the process, we have had to commit to things that we cannot or do not want to deliver.  We may have committed to a price that makes the business unprofitable to us.  We may have committed to a customer that is not on our target markets and may divert focus and resources.  We commit to a customer that may be very difficult to support—for many reasons.  These are bad deals for us an our company. 

In delivering on these deals, they can be draining, lose-lose oportunities.  We are unhappy, it’s draining our attention and resources.  The customer is unhappy and making others aware of their unhappiness–hurting our reputation.

Early in the qualification process, it’s important to assess whether we really want to win this business and live with this customer.  Consider:

  • Does this customer fit our sweet spot?  Will winning this business continue to reinforce our business strategies and priorities?
  • Based on what we understand of the opportunity and the customer, will we be able to deliver?  Can we support the customer?  Is this a customer that we will be able to satisfy on delivery?  Can we make this customer a happy customer willing to be a great reference?
  • Based on what we know, do we believe we can compete and win this business–and agree to terms that make this deal profitable for us?
  • Will we be able to live with the terms, conditions, and target pricing?

As early in the customer buying process, it is critical to assess these issues—ideally in qualification.  At any time through their buying process, if it starts becoming a bad deal for your company, consider abandoning the opportunity.

One final word, if the this deal passes your qualification screen–at qualifying and through winning, never ever have Seller’s Remorse.  Never ever let anyone in your company have Seller’s Remorse.  You and your company chose to pursue this deal.  You chose to win it and accept the implications of winning it.  In winning it, you need to be totally committed to delivering a great customer experience and satisfying this customer.Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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