When qualifying prospective clients and partners I believe it is vital to be able to qualify out when you know the opportunity is not right. Not enough sales managers empower thier sales staff to walk away from potential opportunities when they know the deal is not right.
Qualifying out of a deal can save your business and the prospective client's business a lot of time, money and heartache. If you know the opportunity or relationship are not right then do not force a sales person to ram a square peg into a round hole. That only leads to expensive tears down the track.
Here are some times when qualifying out might be winning;
1. When you know your solution is not what the client needs. No solution meets the needs of all businesses so don't be shy or embarrassed to say "you know what, I don't believe our solution is right for you."
2. When you know you don't have the time or resources to service the opportunity. There can be times when you are too busy, you have projects booked solidly or you are short on human or other resources. If timelines can't be re-arranged then qualifying out can sometimes be the best option.
3. When you don't believe you can build or retain a working relationship with the prospect. Sometimes you will have personality clashes, or even come across a psychopath when qualifying an opportunity. If you are sure the problem is not you (and always seek a second opinion here), and you are sure it is something you can't resolve by getting other team members involved then move on. Tell the prospect you don't believe you can work together and qualify out. Failure to do this can lead to the nightmarish situation of having lunatics in your client base who you can never make happy. These clients can have a devastating effect on staff morale and performance so weed them out early and do it without hesitation.
Qualifying out makes many sales managers and business owners extremely nervous but it shouldn't. Not all deals are meant to be. If there are clear parameters around when and how to do it then I believe qualifying out of a deal is one of the most valuable and powerful tools a sales person has in their bag.