We often discuss three sales process steps: Initial Contact, Meeting, and Presentation. In order to align this qualifying process with those sales process steps, we break the qualifying process into two steps: pre-qualifying and qualifying.
The pre-qualifying step is where you try to determine if there is even the slightest fit between what you sell and the prospect’s needs in order to determine if it makes sense to have a brief conversation. Your pain and current environment questions will do a good job of identifying what is going on with the prospect and help you to determine if you and the prospect are in the general area of having a reason to keep talking. When you are pre-qualifying the prospect, you don’t need to worry about identifying if the prospect has budget available or decision-making power because all you are trying to do is see if it makes sense to start a real conversation. As a result, you do not need to ask any of the qualifying questions at this point.
The only step in the sales process where you want to focus on pre-qualifying is the Initial Contact, and you are pre-qualifying to determine if it makes sense to progress to the Meeting sales process step.