Disqualify to Qualify

Sure, you like chocolate cake, but if it’s not in your diet plan, it’s wasted calories.

Cupcakes or poop emoji

With every client I’ve had, the idea of creating an “avatar” or developing their target market is often met with cynicism. “I’m new, I need to market to everyone! Why would I cut someone off from doing business with me?”

Here’s the thing, especially when you’re starting out, but even if you’re already going, if you don’t disqualify, you could be wasting everybody’s valuable time. If it’s not what you do, if the customer isn’t quite right, then neither you, or your customer is happy which leads to negative reviews, bad referrals, and mixed emotions. Remember, one of the most important things you can do for your brand is to stand out. In order to stand out, you need to differentiate. You need to find your niche. You need to discover who you are, and what you need, and what your special set of skills delivers to better understand who your client is, what they want, and what inspires them.

The clearest example I have is from my own personal life. Years ago, my parents divorced. My dad got married again, divorced again, and then met a new girl who he dated for around 4 years. I recently paid him a visit. He’s single again but wants to play out of his age league, keep young, mentally and physically. He needs a new girlfriend. I signed him up to some dating services; we took photos, created a user name and typed in his age. “68? Can’t you just put something like 60+?” Well Dad, no. The reason? He needed to disqualify from his pipeline. Say for instance, someone reaches out of her wheelhouse and says, “Hey, this guy is attractive and though I told myself I’d never date someone over 60, he’s only 60+, so that should be fine.” Messages are exchanged, it moves to phone calls, it moves to in person dates and before you know it, the two of them are sitting on a couch, discussing life, and he blurts out, “well, as a 68-year-old…” She screams, “What!? That’s not what I signed up for!” and she walks out. He’s stunned and heartbroken, she feels duped and the seemingly nice relationship falls apart. Why? Because he failed to disqualify from his pipeline. Had he put his true age, she never would’ve reached out to him — no heartbreak, no wasted time. If he puts his real age, and someone younger does reach out to him, well, there’s a clear understanding, there’s a precedent, you’ve managed expectations.

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