Many companies, especially younger ones, spend too much time and energy trying to make themselves look good for their potential clients instead of assessing the viability of the potential partnership. Today I want to share some follow up thoughts to the blog I published last week on “assessing” vs. “impressing” prospects.

Here’s a stringent qualification process you can use to determine if your prospects are “real” enough for you to start a business relationship with. Remember, for prospects to be real they need to have concrete business reasons for spending money with you right now.

Why now? What specifically is going on in their business that makes hiring your company an urgent necessity? Not potentially, in the future, when x goes through. This means right now.

Why you? Why do they think your company is the one to call? How do you stack up when compared with other companies they have interviewed? What do you offer that others can’t?

What’s the gap? What is the gap between their current reality and the results they want? Is it realistic to think your company can bridge the gap?

What’s broken? In other words, what specific problem will hiring your company solve? What specific opportunity will hiring you help them seize? As some wise salesman once said, “When you can articulate your prospect’s problem better than they can, they assume you have the solution.” But if there is no real problem, or you can’t articulate it, there is no real solution. And therefore no real sales opportunity.

What specifically do they need? Is your service the best answer? What are other options they are considering? Is your company the best provider of those services? Compared to who?

Is this need urgent? Or is this a low priority? How “mission-critical” is the problem? How important is their need?

Do they have real money? How much? Does the prospect routinely (year in and year out) spend real money on the services you provide, or would it be more of a luxury buy?

Asking yourself these tough questions should help you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to assessing real prospects. And remember, it should never be about showing how good you are. It’s about determining whether a business relationship between the two companies will be a fruitful one or not.

Do you have further questions or want to talk further about how to better spend your time assessing prospects? Connect with me on LinkedIn or email

photo credit: Colorado River near sunset via photopin (license)