Answer by Greg Longmuir:
Good answers in here, there are however some very scary ones too. Qualifying is no doubt the most important. Here is why, in any industry, retail or B2B you must set yourself in some way apart from your competitor. This can only be done if you know WHY they need or want your product or service. If a client seeks you then you know they have a need or are unhappy with the current business or provider and will capitalize on it by asking questions like "what don't you like about ???" or "what made you decide to ???" you get the point. Without qualifying you may be spewing facts and figures that the client/customer has no interest in and all of a sudden it starts to sound like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons, waa waa waa! Without qualifying you may never get to the need, want, solution the client needs. Without qualifying you would not know that you need to address the concerns of the CIO and how it may affect his IT dept, or the CFO and if he/she will set up a new account or use the same one because it is easier. The CEO wants a bottom line and so on. So proper qualifying not only lets the client/customer close themselves but you have the ability to set yourself apart from the other 5 salespeople that are waiting out in the lobby. I also want to add that qualifying makes the client feel that you have their best interest at heart and you care. Customers don't care how much you know until they know how much you care!