In sales, there is a concept called qualifying. This is the process by which you determine whether someone is a potential purchaser of what you’re selling. This weeding out process quickly determines who and where you should put your efforts.
Most of us working in organisations don’t see ourselves as being in sales. Yet a study commissioned by Daniel Pink, author of To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others, found that at work we spend 40% of our time selling. Not the stereotypical view of selling, but persuading, negotiating and pitching. Extrapolate out and this also means that day in and day out we are also in the process of buying – ideas, deals, and solutions.
Whichever side you’re currently on you’re really deciding whether or not this person or group are worthy of your time and attention. And as these are our most precious currencies, we need to be judicious about who we spend them on. To this end, it’s helpful to have clear criteria to decide who you want to work with. For ease, here are the questions I use to qualify potential clients:
Does my thinking resonate with theirs?
Do we like each other?
Are they willing to learn and prepared to do the work i.e. teachable?
Are they serious about making a positive difference in their corner of the universe and is it a cause I am excited to support?
Of course, I am in the privileged position of being able to walk away from those who don’t meet my criteria – even if I meet theirs. At work, the choice may not seem quite so clear cut, but when you know your criteria and apply them, there is a much greater chance of being able to work with those that bring out the best in you and them. So, what are yours?