After making contact and scheduling a meeting, the next stage is qualifying compatibility. This stage can often get less attention than it deserves. That’s because it requires a commitment of time and training to execute it well.

The overall goal of this step is to evaluate and qualify your prospect’s needs and objections. Essentially, what do they want for their business? Can your solution help them get it?

Here’s a refresher on needs and objections:

  • A prospect’s business need: What salespeople must identify to provide value and move the prospect further along in the sales cycle
  • A prospect’s objection: A prospect’s challenge that may lead them to oppose a product, service or solution
Before anything else, identify and clearly define the prospect’s primary business need. Ask these questions:

  • Why does the advertiser have the problem?
  • What does a viable solution look like?
  • What is the ROI for the customer?
From there, you can jump into the tips outlined below.

Craft Meaningful Questions Up Front

Teach yourself as much as possible about your prospect’s business before contacting them so you can confidently suggest your solution as the answer. This all starts with doing your homework. Research can pay dividends if you do it well.

Start by jotting down a list of questions. Eight to 10 is a good place to begin. You have minimal time to assess the customers, so use it wisely. Meaningful questions help draw out from potential clients what their goals are, what they’re doing now and want to try in the future, what success looks like, etc. It takes time to do your homework. When you do, it changes the conversation.


The sales experts at P1 Learning shared these memorable “4 R’s” to integrate into your questions:

  • Reassure: How do you ensure your customers feel confident in your business?
  • Reassess: What changes did you have to make to your business over the last year?
  • Reinvent: Once you identified the changes, what did your new business plan look like?
  • Relaunch: How did you get that business plan in front of the public?
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Expert Advice

“Do your homework as if you were thinking of investing in the company yourself. After all, you are likely to be asking them to invest in yours.”

Jeff Ulrich, Senior Manager of Digital Transformation, Marketron


Listen. Listen. Listen.

One of the essential skills of a salesperson is being an active listener. You’re asking questions that help you build out the best plan for that advertiser. They’ll be doing much more talking than you, so staying focused is crucial.

Normalize going down the rabbit hole to help your prospects identify pain points. If you ask a question and the conversation goes on a tangent, embrace it. A perk of creating a comprehensive needs analysis is that you obtain specifics and details usually known only by individuals at the business. When you have access to that information, you can deliver a proposal that addresses both needs and opportunities; otherwise, you’re simply guessing.

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Expert Advice

“Before going into a prospect call, I ask myself, ‘What are the client’s goals?’ Make it all about them — not about you — and truly listen.”

Karen Martinelli, Digital Sales and Marketing Manager, Today Media


Connect the Dots to Your Solution

Your proposal to the advertiser should align with their business needs. If it doesn’t, it will fall flat. You’ve researched the company, considered industry trends and asked many questions. Now, you need to gather this intelligence to connect the dots between their challenges and your solutions.

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Expert Advice

“Do not steer the prospect to best fit your solution. This is a common error, which you know you’ve made if you go to close a deal and the prospect pushes back because they are uncertain as to whether your solution will work for them.”

Todd Kalman, SVP of Sales, Marketron

More Tips to Qualify Compatibility Await

If you’d like to read about the fourth tip, you can find it and more exclusive content by downloading the e-book, 7 Stages of the Sales Cycle.

7 stages e-book