Power Disqualifiers in Sales and Marketing

I worked with John Paul Mendocha on refining sales processes for a company several years ago.  John is one of those guys who is a total no-fear salesman.  John is extremely persuasive and an expert in sales processes, sales funnels, and writing persuasive copy – especially for high-ticket products and services.

One thing he always talks about that I still use and refer to often is his Power Disqualifiers.

The idea is that in any sales situation the very best and most important thing to do is quickly disqualify prospects as quickly as possible so you don’t spend your valuable time working with people who have don’t have a snowball’s chance of actually buying your product or service.

Here they are – in order…

  1. Have the money to pay for your services
  2. Have a “bleeding neck”
  3. Have the ability to say “yes”
  4. Buy in to  your USP
  5. Your service must fit into their overall plans

If any prospect doesn’t immediately pass each of these questions (how you find out is another story) they are disqualified and you simply move on.

Some people say it’s harsh, but really – are you doing anyone any good if you can’t help them?  Of course, if you find out they are disqualified and you can’t help them, you can easily refer them to someone who can.  Everyone wins.

“How to be Predictably Persuasive in Your Copy”
by Ray Edwards

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The Ray Edwards Podcast
September 19, 2013

I met Ray Edwards at a conference many years ago.  He’s a copywriter who has a podcast covering copywriting and life lessons.  Many people don’t pay attention to the copy on their websites, advertisements, sales letters, and email sequences.

There’s a reason why copywriters are some of the highest paid people in marketing – a good copywriter sells.

It’s easy to think you can do the same thing because you wrote a lot of essays, research papers, etc. in college, but the fact is that those kinds of writings are rarely effective in anything else except showing the professor you can follow instructions.  Copy is an art form of its own.  Good copy is engaging, persuasive, captivating, and motivating.

If this is new to you, we need to talk…

Ranking algorithms are way more complex than ever – more data inputs, more quality checks, more subtlety.  SEO is no longer about links you build, or the content you create – it’s about what is earned through true value creation and interaction with the community.  It’s no longer useful (in fact it is damaging) to robotically create content, links, and posts that nobody cares about – in the hopes that the search engines will be fooled into ranking your pages.

Real, true and natural interaction with the community or market has always been the best way to go because while you can sometimes fool the machines, you can rarely fool the people – and now, the machines are smarter than you think they are.

There are no shortcuts, and if you are using dated tactics and techniques that seem to be working – just wait, they will soon be a boat anchor around your neck pulling you and your pages into the depths of obscurity.

Rand Fishkin’s presentation from 500 Startups.

Trust Me I'm Lying Book Cover

Trust Me I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator (Portfolio Trade, July, 2013)

I heard about Ryan Holiday years ago as a marketer for American Apparel and as they guy who pulled off some pretty incredible publicity promotions through subtly controlling and feeding the news machine ever hungry for stories and ever willing to be “duped” for the sake of a clicks and page views.

You’ve seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don’t know is that someone is responsible for all this. A media manipulator.

ryan-holiday-trust-me-im-lyingToday’s news is no longer filtered, edited, vetted, and approved by editorial staff, gatekeepers, etc.  Today its all online.  Blogs now compete for clicks, page views, and attentions.  Deadlines and compensation structures now push writers to look for “news” that gets attention – the sensational kind… and get it out quickly before everyone else gets it to and it dies and becomes worthless.  News stories that used to require credible sources (even if kept anonymous) now bypass any and all editorial scrutiny even in the big media outlets because now they can repeat even the most outlandish claims and stories simply because someone else (usually a small, unknown blogger) said it first.   Now rumor and gossip become “news” and though by definition are unverified, writers are free to promote their stories as “fact” simply because they can cite someone else as the original source.

The author shows how media manipulators plant stories in the smaller blogs, then “trade it up the chain” by then notifying more prominent blogs about the story who jump on the story, then on and on up the chain of more and more credible blogs and news websites until the story becomes a national sensation – regardless of its factualness or authenticity.

In a world where blogs control and distort the news, media manipulators control blogs—as much as any one person can.


  • Blogs like Gawker, BuzzFeed, and The Huffington Post drive the media agenda.
  • Bloggers are slaves to money, technology, and deadlines.
  • Manipulators wield these levers to shape everything you read, see, and hear— online and off.

Ryan Holiday explains how this all works, why it works and what the ramifications are for the people and companies targeted by manipulation as well as the effect it has on society.

I love this book.  It pulls the curtains back and shows how the system works.  Unfortunately, if you’re already skeptical of most of what you read on the internet – now you’ll be skeptical of all the rest.

Twitter is one of those things that people get, or they don’t.  Especially when it comes to using it in business.  If you do it right, it can be an asset.  Used wrong can have harmful effects in the worst cases and become a serious waste of time in many cases. This slide deck does an outstanding job of explaining the medium and how to use it – if it fits your business model.