To Qualify Or Disqualify

What’s the difference between qualifying and disqualifying and how’s it accomplished? I’m assuming we’re talking about someone who might be interested in what you have to offer.

It’s all in the mindset. Qualifying implies that the salesperson is looking to “qualify” the prospect as someone they might try to sell to. In this case the sales person is the one doing the selling. Disqualifying is just the opposite. The sales person is looking for every reason to stop the selling process. This makes the prospect the one that has to sell the salesperson on continuing the sales process.

The way it is accomplished is called going for the “NO”. This is accomplished by following a systematic process, which the salesperson controls, and which the prospect must be willing to submit. If the prospect fails to follow the process, or fights the salesperson for control of the process or refuses to answer the salespersons questions then the salesperson disqualifies them. The smart sales person know that at any given time only about 5 – 10 percent of the people they talk to will end up becoming a client. They don’t fight this. They just learn to “cull” people quickly and move on.



Before I was introduced to the New School Selling philosophy I was one of the ones that tried to qualify a prospect. And when I did I thought it was another great sales day even though they may never buy; and they usually didn’t. Now I try to disqualify and get the “No” as soon as possible so I can move on to the ones that will buy. This turn around in approach also has me more as ease when I talk to prospects since I don’t fear the No I look for it and move on.

Thanks for helping me get my head on straight.

Ronnie Gomez

Harrison Greene

While I believe completely in following a solid questioning process that enables the salesperson to determine whether a prospect should become a viable candidate for the salesperson’s product or service, I have a real difficult time thinking about this process in warrior language like “control and submit”, “fights the salesperson”, etc. To “cull out” a prospect seems off the mark. A salesperson who really has the mindset that his product/service may or may not be right for the prospect and who views the process as trying to determine whether he or she can really help the prospect and serve their needs seems to be a vastly different salesperson than one who views his/her role as combat.

Karl Schilling

If a prospect will not join into your process, then they really won’t become a buyer either. Steve is simply saying that instead of wasting your valuable time to learn this to late, why not learn this in the first 5 minutes? It is not a combat, in fact it avoids the argument most sales people create when trying to qualify prospects. Prospects fall into a simple position: some do. some don’t, some will, some won’t. Best to get the dont’s and won’ts identified quickly!

Joe Girard

While I do agree that you need to maximize your valuable time and eliminate any potential “non-buyers,” there is an important addition to this process that will allow you to feel good about getting them to a NO. Make sure you somehow still manage to cultivate a relationship by providing VALUE while trying to get to the NO. Is there ANYTHING at all you can provide for them? If you can leave them with a good experience, perhaps in the future they will become a YES.

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