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SalesLinks Bulletin Archive

Sep 14-20, 1998

Disqualify When You Qualify!

jack carrollby Jack Carroll

Last week, I spent several days on a trade show floor and was reminded that most salespeople who populate booths at such events, do so with the wrong point of view. What most of them do is try to find any conceivable way there might be a need for their products on the part of the people stopping by. They try to "qualify prospects in."

While commendable as positive and optimistic, this is precisely how not to maximize your time at a show. Next time, learn to disqualify when you qualify and "disqualify people who are not legitimate prospects out."

How? A simple four-step qualification (disqualification) process:

  1. Respond to their initial question about what you do by delivering a "60 second booth snapshot" that includes what your product is, what it does, how it is used, and what its value or benefit is to the people who buy and use it. Be crystal clear and simple.
  2. Ask them what they do in relation to your products.
  3. Tell them in 30 seconds, in greater detail, how your products solve problems or satisfy needs of people who do that, including what is unique about them.
  4. Ask them if they can see the value of what you just told them in their situation.

If they say no, which many of them will, then politely move on to someone else who really needs what you offer. Don't try to make converts out of people who are such remote candidates for your products that they "take your best shots" and fail to see or recognize the value in what you offer.

Concentrate you sales energies on people who are legitimate, qualified candidates for your products. You'll need all of the energy and focus you can muster to educate and motivate them to take positive action.

Next week: what to do at a trade show when they are qualified.

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Sales Tip and Practice
One of the greatest myths about sales and selling is that only rookies and lower level salespeople "script themselves out" and use prepared language. The opposite is true. The best in the business script (prepare language) in advance and practice that language privately and with sympathetic friends until it sounds completely natural.

If you are selling without a "60 second booth snapshot," (often referred to as an "elevator speech,") assume that you are not communicating clearly with people about your products and services. If you would concentrate more on clear communication and less on artificial techniques like "overcoming objections," you would be very well served.

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