How to Entice, Disarm, and Discover Your Clients w/ Ian Altman [Episode 301]

In this episode, Ian and I discuss understanding the problems your product solves for the customer, how to qualify your customer by enticing them, disarming them and discovering their needs, and how to preserve the integrity of your sales process.

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is Ian Altman, Founder and CEO of Grow My Revenue, best-selling author of two books, Same Side Selling: A Radical Approach to Break Through Sales Barriers, and Upside-Down Selling: An integrity-based Sales Approach to Avoid Being Predictable. Ian is also a sought-after keynote speaker, an expert in sales leadership and business growth, and author of articles featured regularly in Inc. and Forbes.


Ian’s single most important piece of advice — you have to have a complete understanding of what problems you solve for your client, why they would buy from you, and why they wouldn’t.

Ian identifies the one behavior salespeople should master in the context of qualifying the customer.

When you get an inbound call, don’t start selling. Instead ask, “Wow! What inspired you to call us today?” They will tell you the problem they need solved, you don’t need to guess.

Ian says that in an outbound situation, clients are used to being lied to, so instead — Entice, Disarm, and Discover.

How Ian entices by sharing applicable problems his company has solved with dramatic results.

How Ian disarms by acknowledging that not everybody is the right fit for his firm.

Finally, how Ian discovers by asking, “If solving that problem is important, then I’m happy to learn more about your situation, to see if we can help.”

In summary, this process frames the situation to the 2 or 3 areas you can help, disarms the idea that you’re only there to sell, and triggers discovery to learn more about their situation and see if you can help.

Sometimes salespeople think every opportunity is good, and they get concerned by rejection. But not every opportunity is good. Less than half the people Ian meets are a good fit for him.

Ask yourself, if you were the customer, would you rather speak to a subject matter expert or a salesperson?

How do integrity and sales fit together? The salesperson with integrity understands they have the duty to tell the client if the product is not the right fit for them, even though they need the sale.


What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Disarming honesty.

Who is your sales role model?

One looking out for my welfare, as a physician does.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers, by Jay Baer

Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life, by Michael Port

What music is on your playlist right now?

Podcasts, and Van Halen or Billy Joel.