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Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, author, and sales leader. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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The Disqualification Fallacy

Benjamin Franklin quote

What qualifies, or disqualifies, a client? Some will tell you that there is a formula, or a simple method, to qualify prospects. But that thinking is what constitutes the disqualification fallacy.

This lead is no good.

“This lead is too small.”

“This lead would not be a good fit for our business.”

There are certain things that you can see when looking at a lead. You can see the name of the company. That is something that is visible to you. The contact’s name is also something visible to you. Their phone number, their email address, their physical address, all of these are either known or easily discovered.

None of these things that are visible or easily discovered can tell you whether a prospective client is qualified.

Making the Invisible Visible

What makes a prospective client qualified is invisible. To determine whether it makes sense to pursue a lead, you have to elicit a number of things that don’t exist in an easily discoverable format.

  • Does this lead have a compelling reason to change what they are doing right now? Or, provided with more information and a deeper understanding, would they have a compelling reason to change?

There is no single list of leads you can buy that provides you with the information that answers the above questions. If there were a list that only contained leads who were presently compelled by some circumstances to buy what you sell, you would have already been provided with that list.

Disqualifying before you discover whether or not the client has a compelling reason to change is a mistake. And it is a fallacy to believe that you can discern this information from looking at a name.

The second question you need to discover in order to qualify or disqualify a lead is:

  • Will our solution create value for them around their compelling reason to change?

This information is also invisible to you. To know whether what you do and how you do it might benefit a lead, you would need to have a conversation.

Fallacious Logic is No Logic At All

It is a fallacy to believe that you can discern information as to whether a lead is good by looking at the name on the screen or a piece of paper.

Without making the call and engaging in a conversation to discover the answer to these questions, you are subject to the disqualification fallacy. That fallacy is believing that you have the ability to know things that are unknown to you simply by looking at a small piece of information that is unrelated to what you would really need to know.

You can presume nothing. Stop over-qualifying.

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