How Simple Is Your Qualification Test?

I do enjoy neologisms. That is, new words. How they are formed and what makes them stick holds a certain fascination for me.

I often find myself on bids trying to conjure up new words. Sometimes they take the form of a portmanteau. Smash together existing words to make a brand new one. I also love to apply a funky suffix or prefix to jazz up a word too. I can find myself thinking on my feet for an instant in a pitch to think up a new word.

The win for me is twofold. It adds to your personal distinguishing features, always vital in setting you apart from any alternative idea. Also, when you find the prospect take your word, use it for themselves and, even juicier, build on it to make up their own, then you know you are in.

So it was with glee I read this week someone else similarly entranced. David Marsh‘s summary was delicious.

The writer AP Herbert devised a scoring system for new words, which would be given marks out of 10 on each of four criteria:

is it readily understood, is it to be admired, is it sound etymologically, and is it actually required?

The pass mark was 50% and television, for example, just scraped through (scoring respectively 10, 0, 0, and 10).

One of my favourite recent words is bouncebackability, a neat alternative to “the ability to bounce back” attributed to the former football manager Iain Dowie.

I fear it would fail the test.

Well. While I wholeheartedly disagree with his final sentence – I share his view that bouncebackability is a truly brilliant new word, further proven to me upon hearing golfer Sergio Garcia use it, so surely it does pass the test – I duly devoured the scoring system concept with salivating lips.

Its simplicity is delightful. And has a clear application in solution selling.

What’s your scoring system for new deals?

The vast majority of ‘go, no go’ deal decisions I’ve encountered lean heavily on the informal. Gut feel shines through.

There is another extreme. A long list of questions leading to an opportunity ‘strength’ to emerge. Usually in the form of an attractiveness percentage.

I’m drawn to suggest an adaptation of this Herbert quartet.

Four parameters for a quick, initial insight that goes satisfyingly beyond ‘hunch’ and saves the full science for another day.

Each one of Herbert’s qualities has a Sales parallel.

is it readily understood – does the prospect ‘get it’?

is it to be admired – do they like our solution?

is it sound etymologically – does it build on something / is ‘change’ feasible?

is it actually required – will its impact really make the difference?

So you could even take just four keywords here, such as like these;

understood – admired – change – impact

As with many options in this field, this would also prove a neat task to run your current forecast over. If you’re in a team, hand out this as a task before or at the next internal conference. Another way to assess deal management. Either way, it’s a wonderful first-step to adding a winning process mentality to your funnel operations and homing in on your true sweet spot.

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