Sales qualification in reverse

Sales qualification refereeIn “Getting the initial sales appointment” we made mention of the fact that we need to disqualify our sales prospects as rapidly as possible. I think this strategy is worth a few more paragraphs to fully flush out the meaning of this counter-intuitive statement.

There is a slightly gray line that needs to be walked between disqualification and stupidity. I’ve seen some folks go way overboard here and lose business that they shouldn’t have.

One guy sat there and told a client “You wouldn’t want to buy that from us, we won’t be cost competitive.” He was trying to basically get them to beg him to sell to them. And this can work – but in this case he wasn’t the only player and he lost the business due to his arrogance. By the time I explained what he did wrong it was too late and the relationship was permanently strained.

Here is an example of what you might say to a prospect during the initial sales call to allow them to tell you that they might not be a qualified lead – and it gives you the lead-in to begin your disqualification questions. I’m sticking with the product tagging product that we often use here.

“Mr. Prospect, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk with you about your product tagging needs. I want to make sure not to waste any of your time, so at any point in this conversation please feel free to jump in and say that this doesn’t seem like a good fit – and we’ll stop right there. Also, instead of me jumping in and telling you all about our company and products, I’d like to start off with a few questions to make sure that I’m convinced that we can help you out.”

Once you’ve put them at ease and made them comfortable with the idea of telling you to hit the road, they will be more likely to open up and have a mutual discovery process to find out if they can actually use your product or service.

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#1 Jeff Blackwell on 04.26.08 at 5:36 pm

Excellent Post and Blog. Keep up the great work and thank you for helping to advance the profession of sales.

#2 Eric on 04.27.08 at 7:23 pm

Jeff – I’m humbled by your comment. You are certainly a much, much more well know sales celebrity ( – many thanks for stopping by!

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