Qualified to Qualify

    Sandler Training(sm) Offers Tips to Help Sales Teams Better Qualify

    OWINGS MILLS, Md., Oct. 9 /CNW/ -- The sales process usually starts by
obtaining potential customer leads and qualifying them.  To "qualify" means to
determine through a selection process that a prospect has proven capable of or
fit to meet the requirements to buy from you.  In qualifying leads most
organizations forget to ask one important question, are their salespeople
qualified to qualify? Many salespeople rely on the underlying premise that a
prospect will be able to accurately qualify themselves through a series of
questions, but this is not always the case.  The premise is that a prospect
can understand their problems sufficiently to not only recognize what created
them, but also, when aided by a few probing questions from salespeople, are
able to identify suitable solutions.
    "That's almost like a patient going to the doctor with the ability to
diagnose his own ailment and prescribe a treatment.  If the patient could do
that, he wouldn't need the doctor," says David Mattson, CEO of Sandler
Training. "Likewise, if prospects could diagnose their problems and prescribe
and implement their own solutions, they wouldn't need salespeople.  Price
schedules and order forms would suffice," Mattson also says.  In addition,
Mattson offers these tips to help salespeople become more qualified to
    Uncover the Problem's Origin:  Salespeople can't solely rely on
prospects' description of their own situations. When prospects are confronted
with problems, what they experience are the results or manifestations of the
underlying causes of the problems.  In other words, their attention and focus
is on what has bubbled to the surface instead of the whole picture.  However,
it's the identification of the underlying principal and contributing elements
of the problems that are required to develop appropriate solutions. The more
complex the problems are and the more pressing they seem to be, the less
likely it is that prospects will have invested the time to look beyond the
symptoms (even if they know what to look for) to identify the origins of the
    Question Perceptions:  Relying completely on prospects to be
knowledgeable enough to discuss their problems and likely solutions can lead
to two unproductive situations.  First, the salespeople "buy in" to the
prospects' perceptions about their problems, which rarely touch on the real
causes for them. Second, the conversations quickly focus on solutions, which
at best are premature and at worst are entirely inappropriate.  The prospects
and the salespeople may have intellectually stimulating conversations about
the perceived problems and their consequences, but in the end, neither of them
knows any more about the origin and evolution of the problems than they did at
the outset.  And, to make matters worse, those types of conversations usually
end with the salespeople going off to develop presentations or proposals for
possible solutions to ill-defined problems. Salespeople should look beyond
perceptions to gauge an accurate picture.
    Face the Facts:  The implication from these situations is clear:
salespeople must not only be thoroughly knowledgeable about the products and
services they sell, but they must also have a thorough understanding of the
current and potential problems and challenges of the prospects they call on.
And, they must know how to diagnose prospects' perceived problems by looking
beyond the symptoms and identifying the underlying causes -- the real problems
to be addressed.  By knowing their prospects almost better than the prospects
know themselves, salespeople can not only ask "probing" questions, but ask
questions that help prospects discover aspects of their situations which they
were unaware of before the conversations.  When salespeople accomplish that,
they not only bring value to the relationship, but they also establish their
credibility.  Then salespeople are better qualified to qualify.
    David Mattson is CEO and partner at Sandler Training.  Since 1986 he has
been a trainer and business consultant in management, sales, interpersonal
communication, corporate team building and strategic planning throughout the
U.S. and Europe.  His domestic and international clients include top-name
organizations in many different industries.
    Sandler Training, formerly known as Sandler Sales Institute, is the
leading provider of sales and management training with 225 licensed trainers
throughout the U.S., Canada and internationally.  The company provides a full
range of sales and management training programs, with powerful coordination
and customization benefits throughout its extensive franchise network.  Among
its many achievements, Entrepreneur Magazine has awarded Sandler Training its
#1 ranking for Training Programs 8 times since 1994, including the past three
years 2006, 2007, and 2008.  The company website is located at

For further information:

For further information: Melissa Watkins of Bergman Group for Sandler
Training, +1-804-402-5316, Melissa@bergmangroup.com Web Site:

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