Qualifying opportunities means making sure the opportunity that we have helped to surface is real, winnable, and worth our firm’s time to pursue.


1. One approach is to ask questions that will enable your firm to make smart decisions on whether to pursuit and opportunity or not. For example, you should be able to determine through questioning:

  • Is there a business need?
  • Is there a sense of urgency to meet that business need?
  • Is the project funded?
  • Is the opportunity in the near term or is it more long term?
  • Who’s the competition?
  • Has the client assigned resources to address the issue?

Answering these questions will go a long way toward determining if the opportunity is real and important enough for the client to address it.

2. Qualifying opportunities is establishing whether the individuals associated with the potential opportunity can articulate what the “compelling event” is behind the initiative. Compelling events usually fall into one or more of the following categories. Will the initiative…

  • Increase revenue?
  • Increase productivity/efficiencies?
  • Contain or reduce costs?
  • Increase shareholder value?
  • Meet a compliance requirement?

Every “real” (qualified) opportunity is rooted in a compelling event. If your client or the key individual behind that initiative can’t articulate the compelling event, either the opportunity isn’t qualified or the person you are interacting with is not the key player in the decision process.


In the coming weeks and month, try to keep the process of qualifying opportunities top of mind as you listen for and pay attention to client needs and issues. Consider using the acronym “NUTS” as a way to guide your qualifying efforts.

N = Need…is there a definitive need that is recognized by the client?

U = Urgency…is there enough urgency and pain for the client to address the need, and does the client “care” enough about addressing that need to make the decision?

T = Timing…is the timing of the decision one that is more short-term vs longer term?

S = $…is there committed budget by the client to address the need OR is there a clear-cut business case with definitive ROI to help justify the budget?