How to qualify your sales target

This article is about how to identify potential Customers, Clients or Consumers – QUICKLY. Whichever ‘C’ word you are using, you might consider using the ‘F’ word instead, because in this world where everything – even in business – has become ‘social’, what we are really trying to identify is potential Friends, Fans and Followers: all of whom have much greater potential for long-term or life-long relationships.

In this article we are going to explore specific conversational techniques to further uncover the character and intention of the person or people you are talking to. (And, by the way, this works online as well as face to face).

  1. For the purposes of this lesson, let’s assume that ideally you’d like the person you are talking with to become a customer, friend or fan.
  2. Let’s also assume that ideally you’d like that person to be a customer/fan FOR LIFE.


It’s not our aim to convert the person to a customer or fan right now; but it is our aim to identify THE POTENTIAL of them becoming one. Big difference! And if that potential isn’t proven within a limited amount of time, then we recommend getting out quickly and moving on to the next person (politely of course).

This is the principle of ‘SW; SW; SW: Next!’ (Some Will; Some Won’t; So What: Next!), which can help your psychology, particularly if you want justification for the fact that this is not a popularity contest.

And, as with all of the Inspirationist® Models, it is our premiss that whatever method you are currently using, we can give you a FASTER route to market.

The tips that I give are tried, tested and proven to SAVE YOU TIME when you apply them in the way that I share.

Step 1

Imagine the person you have just met is on the tennis court with you. You have introduced yourselves (following our guidelines from the previous two articles) and are now about to see:

a)      What the intentions of the other person are

b)     What sort of game the other person plays

Consider that this is just a warm-up for tennis, not the actual game itself, so what you want to do is just hit the ball back and forth a few times to get a feel for the other person’s game. How good are they? Do they want to thrash you and win every time? Do they have a killer instinct and is it you they want to kill? Are they looking for a tennis partner whom they could play with regularly? Might they be interested in being friends with you? Might their interest be more social than sporting?

In our metaphorical game of tennis, you would learn quite fast a lot of things about the other person and the way they play their game, and that’s exactly what we want to get you to do in your business conversations too.

Because if you are talking to someone who is only interested in, ‘what’s in it for me?’ that’s a very different relationship that you will have than if their primary focus is on ‘how can we help each other to profit from this relationship’.

The fact is, this is about their intention. It’s about yours as well, by the way.

But the fact is: YOU BOTH NEED SKILLS.

It doesn’t matter so much about how well developed your inter-personal skills are at this point in time, because you can work on those; you can learn and practice what you need to know and do; but THE RIGHT INTENTION is absolutely crucial. The intention must be around helping and supporting one another.

As soon as you become selfish about the relationship, at that point, it’s doomed – at least in terms of any long-lasting potential! If you’re just in it for the fast buck, the quick sale, then our methodology isn’t for you.

We will be talking in future articles about getting your fans and followers to spend money with you, and I’ll show you how some of those products can be snapped up eagerly and quickly, but the big difference is that these products will be jam-packed with value and integrity and will aid the building of loyal relationships, rather than spoiling them.

Step 2

So, here’s the practical

Once you’ve got the introductions over with, your next question should cut straight to the chase.

Remember your initial aim is to uncover their intention.

How you do this is by asking appropriate questions.

I’m not going to give you a script right not – you can work that out for yourself and it should be in your own words anyway – but what you say could include things like this:

“Do you find that this is a good way to get business?”

“What is your reason for investing time and money in coming here?”

“How do you network? What do you do to make it work for you? What sort of results do you expect or get?”


This is where the real skill lies. It’s not just about asking the right question, it’s more about listening and interpreting their answer.

For example, it’s very different if someone comes straight out with, “Oh, I come here to see if I can help other people”, than if they say, “Oh, I come here to get business”.

The first statement ‘proves’ an honourable, good intention (although they might be lying) the second could mean they are either a) very selfish, or b) very focussed.

So, as you can see, this is still unclear, but you’re off to a good start.

Whatever answer they give, you must pay attention, because as each statement is made, they give away a little more about themselves.

For example, if someone is saying they come along to help others, your next question could be, ‘how do you do that?’ This draws them out and you’ll get another piece of their character jigsaw.

Or, if they say they’ve come to get business, you want to uncover whether they just go for the jugular, to get business for themselves, or they actually get business by helping others.

So, in actual fact, you could put the same question back to them, ‘how do you do that?’

Do you see how this is going to work for you?

The reason that I liken this to our tennis scenario is that it’s like hitting the ball to them and seeing how they return it to you. IF they return it to you – and some people won’t even do that – then hit it back again and watch, AGAIN.

People usually concentrate on what they are saying, rather than what THE OTHER PERSON’S RESPONSE to what they are saying is.

This has two negatives:

1                    If you’re worrying about what to say and what questions to ask, you are apt to be self-conscious and therefore a bit unnatural. It may make you feel shy, nervous or anxious, too.

2                    You are going to miss the Vital Information or the Clues that what they say gives to you.

In this whole process, what you are trying to do is to become a RADAR EXPERT.

Your radar needs to be tuned in to whatever it is that they say that can inform your next step. You need to become sensitive to picking up the signals that tell you EVERYTHING ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that if you are a man, you don’t have the same ability to get as good at this as does a female. That’s just what I call ‘Societal Bollocks’ brought about by years and years of conditioning or social hypnosis.

The science proves that whatever gender you are, your ability to pick up those signals is pretty much equal, you just need to practice it and you’ll get better at it.

So let’s recap:

The conversational game of tennis is all about hitting a ball over the net and seeing what comes back.

Once you’ve introduced yourself, ask gentle questions about why they are here, what they hope to get out of it, etc.

The biggest mistake I see people make is to ask the other person what they do. (Face it; you’re not really interested, at least not just yet.)

Whilst convention and business etiquette might suggest that this polite approach is the one to take, frankly it’s a waste of your time before you’ve identified the person’s intention and character.

Why would you ask a selfish, crashing bore, what they do for a living? Are you a masochist?

You wouldn’t, at least not through choice. So don’t allow yourself to get into those situations that waste your time.

This is all about discipline and following a powerful system. You are not there to become more popular, you are there to start and develop profitable relationships ultimately worth a lot of money.

Just one caveat before I finish. You will meet people who won’t themselves become paying customers, but they might lead you to others that will. These people will still be fans, followers and friends, who have good intentions and play the game appropriately with you, which is one more reason to stop using the ‘C’ word, and think, instead of using the ‘F’ word.


Posted on June 1, 2011, in Compel Your Audience to Buy, Create Your Fame, Get The Results You Want, Have Fun with Your Business, How to ..., Personal Branding, Psychology & Influence, The Business of Show and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great tips QJ, I love the ‘how do you do that?’ question. It helps them think which is what you want them to do. Rather than trotting out boring cliches that we’ve all heard before. It helps them think about what they really do and separates you from the crowd.


  1. Pingback: The conversational game of tennis or How to qualify your target … « Tennis Community

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