How to Identify High-Potential Opportunities – Qualification – event or process?

Typically, there are several main reasons a deal stalls. A would-be buyer fails to see how your solution solves their biggest business issue. You haven’t drawn a significant distinction between you and your prime competitors. Maybe you aren’t interacting with someone with decision authority. Then again, maybe they have purchasing power but do not see the value in your offering. Or, lastly, the purchase feels too risky for the company right now.

Before you find yourself having to scrap days, weeks or months worth of work, refine the way you qualify these opportunities from the get-go. This will save everyone time and effort so you devote your energy to pursuing those who do have the need and authority to buy—and soon.


At ValueSelling Associates, we recommend incorporating the Qualified Prospect Formula® early on to prevent any of the previously mentioned scenarios from happening. This straightforward, simple approach helps you determine how well-qualified an opportunity is. It starts by asking yourself:

  • Should they buy—and from you?
  • Is it worth it?
  • Can they buy?
  • When will they buy?

Obviously answering some of these questions takes more time than others.

We’ve tested this formula against thousands of opportunities. Here’s why it works:

Your solution can’t solve everyone’s problem. You may sell excellent quality furniture, but if someone recently redecorated their offices in a décor that is completely different than the styles you feature, you’re wasting your time.

A prospect must understand the value in what you’re offering. Most sales reps fail to uncover, articulate and test whether the prospect sees enough value in a solution to warrant completing the sales cycle. Take the time to talk a prospect through what it will take to make major improvements. If you’re successful, you’ll get credit for your role in that transformation and earn both referrals and a long-term relationship.

You can’t sell to people who can’t purchase. Beyond titles, find out if you’re talking to someone with buying power. This requires a little research. People move up and down corporate ladders, and approval layers can be added or eliminated as companies grow or contract.

Focus on results rather than a one-time purchase event. Everyone is motivated. Your job as a sales rep is to understand what motivates the prospect and how to connect to that. Use your communication skills to focus the prospect on the results and expected value of your solution. That can be a powerful motivation to take action sooner rather than later.

The answers to these four questions in the Qualified Prospect Formula help you determine how well-qualified an opportunity actually is. Using this process saves you from wasting time pursuing the wrong lead. Freeing up this time makes you more productive. That’s why qualifying opportunities in this manner is important: not just today or tomorrow, but consistently, and throughout your entire sales career. Do it well, do it often, and you’ll have more success in your sales career.

Sell with Value!

Relevant topic? Listen to the recorded webinar, originally aired on August 15 at 10 AM Pacific: 8 Ways to Drive Results with Your Prospecting & Qualifying.