Home > Interview > Spend your time trying to disqualify them instead of qualifying them

Spend your time trying to disqualify them instead of qualifying them

I was reading a sales blog tonight about maximizing the initial sales call and this was one of the rules:

Spend your time trying to disqualify them instead of qualifying them. If you can get them to say no we don't need your product then you can move on to someone else that does. The harder you try to convice someone that they don't need you the harder they will work to convince you that they do.
What's your opinion on that advice? - by Thomas
Thomas..... cl2;

Look Thomas... may I call you Thomas... when I'm called Thomas I'm in deep dog food fer sure....

Ok... Look... isn't it much better to put your money to work in a mutual fund or real estate investment than into this insurance policy? I mean, after 42 years you'd have equalled the investment value of this policy if you only earned 6%, assuming we don't pay any dividends on our policy, which though we've never not declared a dividend, you can't tell about the future can you?

Thomas... how could a rate of return of probably 13,000% make sense if you died tonight... I mean you'd be betting against yourself for one thing and who'd ever want to do that..

Oh... and a tax free retirement income *** supplement, no income tax on the proceeds, or guaranteed lifetime income, how could any of that possibly match the satisfaction of accumulating those amounts, even though ultimately taxable to a much greater extent, the satisfaction of doin it yerself has to be reward in itself huh...

*** loans against additions

Are you buying yet shds; ;bg ;bg - by rattus58
It works very well for me. Try it and find out for yourself. You don't need to be negative to get the process going. Just explore the alternatives, from the prospects perspective. If the opportunity is real, the prospect will begin selling it to you. It is great for your credibility as well. - by Clive Miller
What's your opinion on that advice?
There is merit in understanding the disqualifying process, but the author, in my opinion, based on what was written, is offering advice that can be misconstrued.

I did say "understanding", not USING. The principles of selling do not need overhaul. - by Ace Coldiron
As with many contrarian viewpoints, things can be taken to an extreme. Basically, I agree with the concept of disqualification (but to be honest, it's just the other side of the qualification coin, so it's not that different).

However, this statement:

"The harder you try to convice someone that they don't need you the harder they will work to convince you that they do"

...is occassionally true, but certainly not always true, in my opinion. But the author has apparently presented it as a truth, which I disagree with. - by Skip Anderson
As with many contrarian viewpoints, things can be taken to an extreme. Basically, I agree with the concept of disqualification (but to be honest, it's just the other side of the qualification coin, so it's not that different).

However, this statement:

"The harder you try to convice someone that they don't need you the harder they will work to convince you that they do"

...is occassionally true, but certainly not always true, in my opinion. But the author has apparently presented it as a truth, which I disagree with.
Hmmmmmm got replaced again.....

Ok... down to the core of this.... in insurance we have a stiuation where we explore, identify, recommend and agree... and then announce, "Ok, now let's see if you can qualify".... Gulp....

Aloha.... :cool: - by rattus58
Honestly I never try to "Qualify" or "Disqualify" a customer. I find it much easier to let the person qualify themselves in the vehicle or product they are looking at. This way it doesn't seem like I am pushing the product and it was their choice on which to get. If they become hesitant on price I tell them simply:
"Well Mr. Customer, from what I understood from our conversation is you wanted a vehcile with X feature, Y feature, and Z feature right? Great! Well these is what it costs for those options. Which of them can you do without?" (Take-Away Close) - by jrboyd
Honestly I never try to "Qualify" or "Disqualify" a customer. I find it much easier to let the person qualify themselves in the vehicle or product they are looking at. This way it doesn't seem like I am pushing the product and it was their choice on which to get. If they become hesitant on price I tell them simply:
"Well Mr. Customer, from what I understood from our conversation is you wanted a vehcile with X feature, Y feature, and Z feature right? Great! Well these is what it costs for those options. Which of them can you do without?" (Take-Away Close)
It's refreshing to hear some talk about skills and techniques now that some of the other threads have run their course.

You say you never try to qualify a customer. Yet the traditional and hard fast components of qualifyig are Ready, Willing, and Able. How could a car salesman not address those?

I thought that Tom's example of "qualifying" was more akin to the Take Away Close than your example of subtracting options. - by Ace Coldiron
Nicely put. For the first part of ready willing and able, as related to qualifing the customer I use the assumption that if they are on the lot or calling a dealership, they are ready willing and able, so by making that assumption I bypass most of the typical qualifying that most tend to do. I do use trial closes throughout the presentation, so I do qualify them in that perspective though.

As for the "take away close" isn't subtracting options the same idea? I may not be taking away the product completely but I take the options that he may desire. - by jrboyd
As with many contrarian viewpoints, things can be taken to an extreme. Basically, I agree with the concept of disqualification (but to be honest, it's just the other side of the qualification coin, so it's not that different).

However, this statement:

"The harder you try to convince someone that they don't need you the harder they will work to convince you that they do"

...is occasionally true, but certainly not always true, in my opinion. But the author has apparently presented it as a truth, which I disagree with.
Great insights as usual Skip. May I go on ...?

The idea that we convince is foreign to the greats. What we do is help people buy. The process, after normal social graces, begins with finding what it is they need or what the pain they are experiencing was caused by. If, as a sales rep, we have benefits of our prospect or service that satisfy these needs and/or make the pain go away, the prospect will see that for themselves.

Remember, benefits can be as simple as the buyer liking the sales person. And they are not necessarily just the product, as in the case of after purchase support. This means that if you sell cars part of their pain may be as simple as the service or lack there of they received from the other dealership they now do not want to go back to. In other words, the pain is not physical as in; their seat in the old van wore through and is now in-flaming their rear ends!

The notion that a professional should try to disqualify is, in reality, not only foreign but utterly ludicrous. After all, think of yourself, you know what you want or don't want, right? So, if I was helping you, why would I worry about trying to prove to you that you don't need what I have?

To those who really think the quoted sales advice that began this thread resonates with them, I have this advice;

Stick to finding out if there are needs and opportunities. And, trust me, you can leave the NEW AGE SELLING baloney alone. It is theory, not practice, and you haven't enough real solid selling skills as a foundation for your career to judge this quote or understand any better.

The whole notion that we influence through force is a misconception in the minds of those who were never trained or were poorly trained, people who don't really understand the art of communication. And this strange concept is further supported in their (these trainers and those who read their writings) minds by the unfortunate experience of having run into a "pushy sales person" or experienced training that tried to teach "pushy behavior" ... quite naturally, until they have a better role model to look up to, it is all too easy to start thinking that all sales people must be that way.

I real pro is a sophisticated animal. They know how to get to the root of the matter without making the prospect feel odd in any way. They know how to handle controlling comments like "show me what you have" and regain control with total ease. They are well read, think on their feet and have a basic understanding of what a business executive or entrepreneur is faced with daily in almost any number of industries or fields. And are equally as comfortable with consumers as in B2B selling.

"We" are incredible, though we never let on that we are. We never seek recognition except from peers and then only through deeds done, as in; sales totals, coaching, books and audio or video recordings.

I read the comments that you - and you know who you are - pros make and I think, "man, what a sales person" ... then I read this stuff that is unsophisticated, out of touch and created in a knee-jerk fashion to address unfounded perceptions based on amateurs that do not even come close to resembling "us" at all. And, I say, this is based on negative, backwards connotations instead of forward, positive, motivated thought processes.

What we think about we bring about. If you want to spend time in front of a prospect thinking about how to disqualify them, guess what? You will at times cause just that to to come about or worse, start disqualifying many of the prospects who had a real need for what you sell ... !

I have sat with people I did not want as a client. Do you really think that as a pro I would try to make them buy, even if that is really possible? Like trying to "sell ice cubes to Eskimos"? Yah right!

Are we amateurs or professionals? If you are the later, please run a million miles from information that causes you to think in terms of "the negative" ... please. It is your life and this literally means everything.

Do not be swayed by the dark side Luke! - by Gold Calling
What we think about we bring about. If you want to spend time in front of a prospect thinking about how to disqualify them, guess what? You will at times cause just that to to come about or worse, start disqualifying many of the prospects who had a real need for what you sell ... !
Can I get a witness? thmbp2;

I have learned this lesson at great expense from the school of hard knocks. For the love of Pete don't do it! - by Thomas
A real pro is a sophisticated animal. They know how to get to the root of the matter without making the prospect feel odd in any way. They know how to handle controlling comments like "show me what you have" and regain control with total ease. They are well read, think on their feet and have a basic understanding of what a business executive or entrepreneur is faced with daily in almost any number of industries or fields. And are equally as comfortable with consumers as in B2B selling.
Never heard that said better. - by Ace Coldiron
The concept of trying to qualify in the way suggested is box pushing. If you stop selling your "box" and offer value all of this garbage goes away.

If you read Mack Hanan's book "Consultative Selling" he talks about a concept call the "profit improvement proposal." His method is to offer a proposal that matches the strategic objective of the corporation. And he offers that proposal to the people who are directly responsible for that strategic objective -- the CEO and CFO.

This is obviously a technique that may not be directly applicable on smaller or less significant purchases. However, it can be adapted and the concepts use in most situations with great results.

The idea revolves around presenting something of value as opposed to a product or service. The product or service are not the value -- the result is.

If you offer the value the prospect will instantly qualify himself.

Example.
If you sell a productivity software for auto shops and go into the shop trying to find out how they operate and what tools they have for there business blah blah blah, you're going to sound like every other peddler.

However, if you go into the owner and say. "Look I don't know if I can help you -- but what I do know is that the shops I have worked with have achieved average benchmark increase of 20-30 percent in productivity, which for an average shop is a minimum of $60K.

At this point the owner is going to want to know if he can gain $60 in revenue -- now you are talking to a prospect that wants to solve a problem. - by Flyn L. Penoyer
This sounds a little like what we do.... Explore, Identify, Recommend and Agree.... simply put...

"If you read Mack Hanan's book "Consultative Selling" he talks about a concept call the "profit improvement proposal." His method is to offer a proposal that matches the strategic objective of the corporation. And he offers that proposal to the people who are directly responsible for that strategic objective -- the CEO and CFO."

Don't we as sales people Explore with our clients what they do and how they do it? Don't we as sales people attempt to Identify areas of concern for which we might provide a solution? Don't we as sales people then Recommend (offer) a proposal that matches the needs (strategic objective) of the corporation. Don't we as sales people then come to Agreement with our clients on the right solution?

Aloha.... :cool: - by rattus58
Example;

If you sell a productivity software for auto shops and go into the shop trying to find out how they operate and what tools they have for there business blah blah blah, you're going to sound like every other peddler.
It is all in the way you do it Flyn. If you are good enough you set up the questioning in a way that makes perfect sense. And, at this stage, the "take away" is a - shall I say - "card" that is too early played. Regardless of that, the disqualifying process is one that simply is not required to get to the meat of the matter, not at all. And, may I say, you are not using disqualification as it has been put forward by some of the NEW AGE SELLING camps.

I know MACK's book is good, though I have not read it. My dad perused it a few decades back and explained the little he adopted from it. And I say "little" because he was a national sales contest winner and respected trainer almost a decade prior to that book coming out.

What I want to say is ... if we think more generally, as in uncovering NEEDS (some are felt as pain and some are opportunities: areas where no pain is felt) then the "consultative" method is just how we approach what to do with the benefit(s) uncovered.

We are really in a way saying the same thing, I am just trying to assert that "specialization" is not a good idea in selling ... understand all approaches, in fact: DO IT ALL PEOPLE!

Master this crazy unrecognized art, you won't regret it.

However, if you go into the owner and say. "Look I don't know if I can help you -- but what I do know is that the shops I have worked with have achieved average benchmark increase of 20-30 percent in productivity, which for an average shop is a minimum of $60K.
At this point in the economy, strangely, an increase in productivity may not be a benefit - interestingly enough. It depends on what level of automation exists and how big the demand (amount of orders) is.

If you said to an auto parts maker "I can increase your through-put by 12%, even with your handy-dandy automation system that replaced 60 employees with four" (then add a value to that increase as you did Flyn) and the owner of that business may say;

"I am at 37% of last year, I don't need increased capacity right now. I can't lay off any of the people remaining on that line, as we will always require manual quality checks ... "

One benefit of software in the automation process is less people are required. And, while the union and/or employees may not love that idea, people can get let go to make that extra $60,000 annually a reality. But not in industry where a certain level of automation already exists.

The point of bringing this up is to say that you are much better off with a general benefit statement at the beginning. What is their PAIN (need) ... maybe a reduction of rejects rather than increased through put (productivity is a general statement really)?

There is no through put improvement but stock reject goes from 2% to POINT THREE %!

The whole concept of SELLING PROFESSIONALLY is SUBTLE ... it may not immediately hit you but what we need to do is be good enough to gain their attention and get the right to go forward, exploring the situation through probing/asking questions ... WITHOUT SAYING MUCH OF ANYTHING!

Edwards would say; "Are you good enough to do this one?"

Example;

If you sell a productivity software for auto shops and go into the shop trying to find out how they operate and what tools they have for there business blah blah blah, you're going to sound like every other peddler.
It is all in the way you do it Flyn. If you are good enough you set up the questioning in a way that makes perfect sense. And, at this stage, the "take away" is a - shall I say - "card" that is too early played. Regardless of that, the disqualifying process is one that simply is not required to get to the meat of the matter, not at all. And, may I say, you are not using disqualification as it has been put forward by some of the NEW AGE SELLING camps.

I know MACK's book is good, though I have not read it. My dad perused it a few decades back and explained the little he adopted from it. And I say "little" because he was a national sales contest winner and respected trainer almost a decade prior to that book coming out.

What I want to say is ... if we think more generally, as in uncovering NEEDS (some are felt as pain and some are opportunities: areas where no pain is felt) then the "consultative" method is just how we approach what to do with the benefit uncovered. We are really in a way saying the same thing, I am just trying to assert that "specialization" is not a good idea in selling ... DO IT ALL PEOPLE!

Master this crazy unrecognized art, you won't regret it.

However, if you go into the owner and say. "Look I don't know if I can help you -- but what I do know is that the shops I have worked with have achieved average benchmark increase of 20-30 percent in productivity, which for an average shop is a minimum of $60K.
At this point in the economy, strangely, an increase in productivity may not be a benefit - interestingly enough. It depends on what level of automation exists and how big the demand (amount of orders) is.

If you said to an auto parts maker "I can increase your through-put by 12%, even with your handy-dandy automation system that replaced 60 employees with four" (then add a value to that increase as you did Flyn) and the owner of that business may say;

"I am at 37% of last year, I don't need increased capacity right now. I can't lay off any of the people remaining on that line, as we will always require manual quality checks ... "

One benefit of software in the automation process is less people are required. And, while the union and/or employees may not love that idea, people can get let go to make that extra $60,000 annually a reality. But not in industry where a certain level of automation already exists.

The point of bringing this up is to say that you are much better off with a general benefit statement at the beginning. What is their PAIN (need) ... maybe a reduction of rejects rather than increased through put (productivity is a general statement really)?

There is no through put improvement but stock reject goes from 2% to POINT THREE %!

The whole concept of SELLING PROFESSIONALLY is SUBTLE ... it may not immediately hit you but what we need to do is be good enough to gain their attention and get the right to go forward, exploring the situation through probing/asking questions ... WITHOUT SAYING MUCH OF ANYTHING!

Edwards would say; "Are you good enough to do this one?"

And getting better means practice but how many people on this forum can say they practice the setup of a meeting out loud with their significant other or to a mirror repeatedly to be able to express more so with enthusiasm than an actual benefit as to why a meeting should be conducted?

How about less than 1% ... !?!?!

... and yet this might be the most critical sales practice. It comes into play during both forms of cold calling (telephone prospecting and door knocking) as well as at the beginning of a meeting, especially if you were NOT involved in setting it up.

How about less than 1% ... !?!?!

... and yet this might be the most critical sales practice. It comes into play during both forms of cold calling (telephone prospecting and door knocking) as well as at the beginning of a meeting, especially if you were NOT involved in setting it up. - by Gold Calling
The whole concept of SELLING PROFESSIONALLY is SUBTLE ... it may not immediately hit you but what we need to do is be good enough to gain their attention and get the right to go forward, exploring the situation through probing/asking questions ... WITHOUT SAYING MUCH OF ANYTHING!
Amen to that, Steven! - by Skip Anderson
What's your opinion on that advice?
Since most prospects have a automatic no response when they hear something from a sales rep, the disqualifying approach wastes a lot of otherwise valuable leads. You need to do some persuading and time to let the need ripen in the mind of the prospect before asking if they want your product/service. - by Alexander
Since most prospects have a automatic no response when they hear something from a sales rep ...
This is not my expereince. The overwhelming majority are not negative to questions.

A low percentage are the opposite. - by Gold Calling
This is not my expereince. The overwhelming majority are not negative to questions.

A low percentage are the opposite.
I think in the mind of a high percentage of prospects if someone else, like a salesperson, says something it is suspect but if the prospect says the same thing it isn't. - by Thomas
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