We are all in sales. Whether it’s selling our idea of a great vacation to our wife or selling a Ford Pinto to a bizarre classic car enthusiast.
We are all buying something, too. It can be your 3 year old’s proposal to have a cookie before dinner or the ill-advised, 3,000 calorie loaded potato skins at Hooligans.
Qualifying is the key to make the most of our time (and effort) for selling and buying.
A key goal is to get to ‘No’ quickly. So you can know whether the prospect is worth your time and effort. The sooner you get to no, the sooner you know … and can move on with your time and energy.
The same is true on the buy side, too … particularly with long-term purchases – new houses, construction, software, insurance. Again, the sooner you get to no, the sooner you know.
As a seller, can I trust the buyer has the ability to make the decision and fund the purchase? Can I trust they’re serious in their inspection of me and my product. Or can I trust the seller to deliver on their promises and provide the value I need?
Do they really have the intent to buy? Are they serious buyers? Or am I product porn – providing a masturbatory, shopping experience … they get excited at the prospect of having something they can never have. The sellers’ time gets used and tossed out like a magazine.
There are false sellers, too. Selling to the company they can’t support or deliver to. Selling the house they really aren’t willing to part with (so they reject every offer).
A wise buyer qualifies a seller/service provider. Is the seller’s company solvent, do they have a track record, will they be around tomorrow? A wise seller qualifies a buyer. Do they have the money? Do they have the need? Can they make the decision?
Sometimes friends ask me if I know of any jobs or opportunities. I tell them, “Shoot me your resume. I’ll see who I know.” I ask for the resume for three main reasons.
- To understand what they’re looking for – so a good match can be made
- To see if they can write – a poorly written resume is the calling card of someone who won’t get called
- To qualify their seriousness – this is the most important … are they committed or do they want benefits with no effort
If they aren’t committed enough to get a me a resume, they are not qualified for me to recommend them to a friend for an opportunity. The quality of the resume also helps with this. Poor resume, unqualified.
97% of people will not follow-through. I won’t get a resume. I might never hear from them again.
This is a good way to qualify friends and acquaintances when they bring up the awkward question about whether you know of any opportunities.
This is the same thing organizations and investors do. They test you.
“Great idea. Send me a proposal on that.” “Interesting perspective, can you add a page with a chart showing XYZ to tell the story more clearly?” “Nice mock-up, call me when you have a working prototype.”
Sometimes the qualifying request reflects masturbatory BS. The person qualifying you is just trying to feel important. Or they’re just passive aggressively saying no. They ask for changes that don’t increase value or impact. Moving pixels on a page doesn’t add value, it just adds a sense of importance to the person who asked for it.
Often times it’s a legitimate attempt to A- delegate effectively, B- fully engage you, and C- qualify you and your ability to follow-through and execute.
Qualifying is really about establishing trustworthiness.
Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. Asking someone to execute, no matter how small the request, lets the requester see if you follow-through. The result tells them you are worth investing time and energy in. It tells them you have potential that can be realized. It tells them you can get stuff done.
Qualifying saves time. It connects us with quality people. It tests those who think they want to succeed but don’t have the perseverance to succeed at succeeding. Qualifying is about testing qualities. After passing the test, you are qualified.
Are you qualified for the new job or opportunity you say you want? What tests are you passing, failing, or worse yet, avoiding?
They’ll only know you’re qualified if you take the test. They’ll only test you if you show them you want an opportunity.
Showing up is the first test. Pass the first test and you’ll be given another. And another. And another. Each time improving your qualifications.
Are you qualified?