Brute force selling usually comes about when someone feels like they have to sell their product or service, regardless of the needs, wants, or desires of their prospect. The antidote comes from better understanding, relationship building, and effective qualification.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, cohost Jay McFarland, and I will be discussing the idea of brute force selling. Welcome, Jay.

Jay: Hey, thank you so much, David. I know we’ve talked about a lot of different issues, you know, generating leads and those types of things. I’m very anxious to talk about this brute force. When I hear it, as a customer, I’m like “brute for selling? What exactly do you mean here?” Because I might want to run away from it.

The Case Against Brute Force Selling

David: Yeah, well, I’m not really here today to advocate for brute force selling, okay? So, definitely not my first choice, but it seems to me like there are so many people, so many industries that tend to engage in it, that I thought we should probably have the discussion.

Jay: Yeah. I mean, nothing could be worse than chasing potential clients away. I think there’s a fine line between brute force and still trying to help customers understand the importance of your products and using good sales techniques. It’s really a fine line. Isn’t it?

David: It is. There’s definitely a balance. And I think there’s a big difference between persistence and brute force selling. But to get to the core of it. I think one of the biggest problems that a lot of small business owners and salespeople have today is that they think in terms of selling.

I have to sell this product, or I have to sell this idea. I have to sell this concept. I have to sell this customer. “I have to sell,” being the main thing.

When you’re approaching someone for the first time with the idea of, “I have to sell,” it’s easy to slip into the wrong gear about trying to push what you have onto them before you’ve even identified, whether they have a need desire, money, budget, willingness to spend, any of those things.

When I think in terms of brute force selling, to me, it’s often about people who have gotten into sales. They’ve been given maybe a lead sheet or in the old days, it was a phone book by their manager who said, “Go make sales. Knock yourself out.”

And when you don’t know how to do that well, then trying to sort of push or bully or cajole people into buying from you becomes the default.

So when the focus is just on sales as the first, middle, and end of the process, it’s kind of a lose/lose for both the salesperson and the prospect. Also for the company. So it’s a lose all the way around.

Effective Qualification is the Key

If we can train salespeople on the idea of first determining need, identifying whether or not this person is a good candidate for what we’re selling. I mean, we’re really just talking about qualifying. And a lot of salespeople and even a lot of sales managers fail to make the distinction between qualification and selling.

When we’re qualifying somebody, we’re not trying to convince or persuade them to buy our stuff. We’re trying to find out if our stuff even makes sense for them.

And what I’ve seen over the years is that there are a lot of salespeople who waste enormous amounts of time pushing and trying to sell to people who have absolutely no capability even to buy what it is that they’re selling.

Without taking that step back and saying, okay, let’s do a little qualification first. Let’s find out what this person is dealing with, and what sort of help they need. And if I can even help them, if you do that first, then you can find out pretty quickly if somebody is a good prospect for you or not.

And if they’re not, then rather than trying to push them into buying something that they don’t want or can’t afford you can thank them for their time. And you can actually move on and get in front of somebody who has a much better likelihood of doing business with you.

Jay: Yeah. So you’re not wasting your time. I love this idea. I also think that qualifying them in advance will help you with the sales process because you’re going to be able to identify pain points.

You’re going to build a relationship with them while you’re trying to qualify them. And so that can help you potentially close the sale later on. If you just dive in and try and close instantly, you’re probably lessening the chances that you’re going to accomplish that goal.

David: No question. And I think there’s also in a lot of businesses, the element of preparation. Laying the groundwork ahead of time. Marketing. Creating an environment in which the people you’re approaching may be aware of you even before you meet them. Right?

A good example is this podcast. If somebody’s watching this podcast, if they’ve been watching it for any length of time, they feel like they have a reasonably good idea of you and me and kind of how we are and the way that we approach things. So that if they were to have a conversation with us, it would be pretty consistent because they know what to expect.

If they’ve never talked to either of us, and I’m just all of a sudden calling them on the phone, calling that same person. “Hi, I’m Dave. I help people grow their sales and profits.”

Who are you? Right? It’s just it’s not ideal from a positioning standpoint.

And so a lot of brute force selling can be avoided when we are able to create that environment first. Sort of tenderizing the prospect. It’s not a great analogy, but setting the stage ahead of time so that when we actually interact with them, we can qualify them quickly, and find out if we have a fit. And if we do, then we can get to the selling.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’ve always believed that it’s about relationships first.

People will be much more comfortable. They’ll be much more receptive to hearing from you. and I think, you know, even if that relationship is just them watching the two of us via a podcast for weeks at a time, they start to feel like, you know each other and

David: Right.

Jay: So that’s a great segue into the process. If you are cold calling, going through that process of interviewing them will build a relationship. If you show interest in them. If you find out what their actual needs are. Find out what experiences they’ve had in the past with purchasing products and those types of things.

David: Yeah. One of the other advantages that it has is that it allows them to feel more connected. It allows them to feel more like it’s their idea.

I was talking about our podcast, but for everybody who’s watching this, a good question to ask yourself is “what am I doing to get myself out in front of people so that they can have an idea of who I am and what I’m all about and how I can potentially help?”

It could be something like this. It could be a podcast, or it could just be an individual video. It could be audio. It could be a post on social media. What are you doing to communicate with the people who have the best likelihood of buying from you right now?

Because they’re out there. And if you don’t know them and more importantly, if they don’t know you, then there is zero likelihood they’re going to be able to buy anything from you.

Jay: And I also think part of this is creating a picture of what that ideal customer is. Because how many businesses really know what their ideal is? If you don’t know, then you can’t pre-qualify to that specific area, right? You’re just shooting in the dark, basically.

David: You are. And sometimes what can happen is when you’re putting out sort of the marketing or the preparatory material, like what we’re talking about here, some people will see it and they’ll go, “wow, that sounds like that’s for me.”

But then when you actually get into a conversation with them, you find out, okay, maybe it’s not a great fit. But you’re able to do that in a way that is so much more natural and organic.

It’s a good conversation to have because you’ll ask them questions. They’ll tell you about what they’re looking to accomplish. If you can help them with it, you will. If you can’t help them, you say, well, I can’t really help with that, but I could refer you to someone. Or here’s what I recommend you do.

And then at that point, you still have a relationship. Might not be a business relationship in terms of selling to them. But it’s a good, solid relationship that somebody will say, “Hey, you know what? These people were really helpful. I think it’s worthwhile to have a conversation with them.”

So as a result, you can get referral business. And they could potentially put you in touch with somebody who actually needs what you’re selling and is able to pay for it.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. several years ago I attended a week-long sales training and the whole week they wouldn’t let us sell our own products. We all became light bulb salespeople. And they didn’t tell us anything about these light bulbs, because they wanted us to focus on the skills of selling instead of falling back on just talking about our products.

And that’s where I think people get caught up. They think that if they just tell you enough about their product and they keep talking about their product, eventually you’ll come around.

And I thought it was very interesting when people started to struggle, they started to make up things about these light bulbs, because they rely on these things so much.

It’s much more about the relationship and how you speak to them and how you learn about their needs than your product is I think.

David: Yeah, I agree with that a hundred percent. When we are focused on product, when we operate a product-focused business versus a client or customer-focused business, we’re already behind the eight ball. We’re already in a situation where other people are going to perform better.

Because you’re right. In a sense, the information about the light bulbs is far less important than the ability to establish rapport with somebody, and find out if they need light bulbs. I mean, we live in a part of Pennsylvania where there are a lot of Amish people. They don’t like having electricity in some areas, right? So they’re not going to buy light bulbs.

And if I’m focused on brute force selling and I want to sell these light bulbs to these Amish people, it’s not going to work out well. And so understanding the relationship and that really it’s a perfect analogy for qualification, establishing a relationship, determining need. And when you do all that stuff, then brute force selling in effect goes away because there’s no point in trying to sell something to someone that they absolutely can’t use.

And when you have these conversations and when you establish those relationships, you don’t even want to do that anymore. It’s not about, oh, I just want to get this person to buy. It’s about, oh, okay, we have a fit or we don’t have a fit.

If we have a fit, we work together. If we don’t, we don’t. But there are so many people out there who will want to work with us if we give ’em a chance. But we can’t get to them if we’re trying to brute force, sell the people who have no interest.

Jay: Yeah. And I also love the idea of helping the customer come to an understanding that they need your product, instead of trying to force them into that understanding. Right?

It’s a hard thing to do, especially if you’re commission-only, I mean, this is your livelihood and you feel like, you know, I got to get to this and I got to get through to this customer.

But if you can take your time and help them see the importance of what you’re offering, they feel like they came to that conclusion on their own. Now you’re talking about the ability to close people much more efficiently, I think.

David: I think in terms of speed, if you’re talking about trying to make the sale more quickly, then the approach we’re talking about will work much better. Because you’re going to qualify first, which means you’ll find out if they’re not a good prospect for you. And if they’re not, you can eliminate the rest of that process and spend more time in front of the people who are going to be a lot more likely to buy from you.

So I don’t think it’s a one or the other situation where okay if they don’t need it, I have to push harder.

No, if they don’t need it, you want to get yourself in front of someone who does, and then that will save you and them a lot of time and heartache.

Jay: Yeah, and the other thing that I’ve seen happen is like, I’ll call up someplace, and I’m ready to buy. And you don’t have to sell me on it. But they don’t take the time to find that out. Right?

So now they’re going to send me through the same process they’re sending everybody through. So again, we’re getting back to the qualification process.

You may not need to spend time educating them on the product. They might be ready to go. Figure that out and capture that sale as quickly as possible. Or take the time to send them through the whole sales funnel.

David: Yeah. And you know, there are salespeople who look at the price of something and they assume, because they feel a certain way about it that everyone else does. And they tend to want to justify the price where the other person might be thinking, yeah,, that’s fine. It’s not a problem. And so it’s very important for us to get over ourselves in some ways.

And not impose our way of thinking on the other person. Find out what’s in their minds. How can we help them? And then follow through on doing that.

Jay: Yeah, and price is so interesting because you know, some people might think it’s too much. Other people might think it’s a great bargain. And sometimes if you charge more for the product, they actually think it’s a better product for them, even though it’s the same product at a higher price.

So gauging their response to that is, I think, so important.

David: Yeah, it is. And just the idea of analyzing what you’re doing, examining what you’re doing, asking yourself, “am I engaging in the type of selling that’s uncomfortable?” Where it’s uncomfortable for me, I’m trying to get you to buy and you’re trying not to buy. That adversarial relationship just doesn’t work nearly as well as when you’re able to find out what they need, provide the service and work with the people who want to work with you and that you want to work with. Everything just gets a hundred times easier.

Jay: Yeah, you mentioned adversarial, I think one of the great ways to make it not feel adversarial is just through asking questions. Ask them if they understand. Ask them if they have any questions. Even saying “here’s our pricing packages. Would you like me to walk you through them?” Instead of saying,

David: mm-hmm

Jay: “let me show you” or “here’s our pricing.” You know, helping them feel that they’re guiding the whole sales process, I find has been a great way to get rid of that feeling of it being adversarial.

David: Absolutely. And a lot of what we’re going to be discussing this week in the Inner Circle is related to this topic of brute force selling. Avoiding it, trying to figure out what we can do to grease the chute so to speak, prepare things in advance so that it’s a better experience.

If you’re an Inner Circle member, be sure to join us inside the portal. If you’re not, you can check us out at for Inner Circle. Join us for a month. Join us forever. It’s up to you. But if you’re looking to create the types of relationships with the type of people that you actually want to interact with, I think it’s a great place for you to start.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. David, I love that you’re sharing this information. I think you’re going to help people increase their sales, build better relationships with their customers and get rid of that adversarial feeling. So thank you so much for joining us today.

David: Thank you, Jay.

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