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Qualification is a Two-Way Street

2 min readJuly 28, 2021

You think you’ve “qualified” your prospect. You’ve asked all of your qualification questions and they met whatever checklist of criteria you’ve established for qualification.

So, you think you’re done with qualification.

However, you’re not. Here’s where many sellers make a critical mistake.

Have you confirmed whether the prospect has qualified you?

Qualification is a two-way street.

It’s not just about qualifying your prospect. It’s equally about the buyer qualifying you.

Most sellers overlook this at their peril.

Why would you spend your limited selling time working on an opportunity where the key stakeholder thinks you’re not a fit for them?

Bilateral qualification should be a key milestone in your sales process because you don’t have a truly qualified buyer until they’ve qualified you, too.

Look at the list of qualification criteria you use in your own selling.

The company you’re selling to has a matching list of criteria they use to qualify vendors.

Which of their vendor qualification criteria are most important to them? Do you meet them?

Don’t assume you know the answer. Ask. Make sure you really understand their answer.

If you’re not a fit for them, then the chances are high that you’re not going to win the deal. In which case, why are you investing your limited selling time in them?

Just because a buyer is still engaging with you doesn’t mean that they’ve qualified you. To the contrary.

Buyers will keep sellers engaged in a deal for many reasons. Perhaps they have an internal requirement to get multiple bids. Or, more typically, they want to use you as pricing leverage against their preferred vendor.

Protect your selling time. Don’t ever assume that you’re still in contention.

Qualification isn’t complete until the buyer qualifies you.

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