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Sales (fake) screening: "apply now" to make sure you qualify

Some online products or services ask you to "apply", or "answer a few questions to see whether you're a good fit".

There was a thread here some time ago, I think it was Ali, and he mentioned that "he had gone through the screening and passed".

Ali and most people reading here are smart guys, so they most likely know what's up.

But there are still many who either aren't aware of this, or who are "kinda of aware", but are still persuaded by the trick.

Well, the game of setting up screening questions is to:

  1. Switch the tables on you: it's not them who are convincing you, it's you who needs to convince them -or at least, you who needs to "qualify"-
  2. Make the product seem scarce: if there is a screening, the product seems scarcer, and more valuable
  3. Make the product seem scarce because of demand: sometimes the screening tool is for limited availability because of demand, which is the most effective form of scarcity
  4. Make you invest: the more you invest, the more the product/service becomes relevant and memorable. Plus, some studies show that the more you invest on something, the more valuable you feel it is

In sum: applications and questionnaires are sales tools.

It's true that there might be some screening criteria, but they're usually screens for better selling.

Those screening questions are usually formulated around your financial ability to buy:

Are you willing to invest today, for a 10x return in your future?

Or around your readiness to buy:

Are ready to give it your all to achieve your goals?

Some of the least refined ones even ask you directly: "do you have 1.000 to invest in this"?

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Yup, this is the post where I mentioned I filled out an online form to qualify for a "brainstorm session" with their team.

Lucio mentioned that the screening questions in these forms are usually based around one's ability to afford their program. So, here's a peek at some of the questions I was asked during my fake screening:

The notes I made are small notes, you guys can probably see for yourself where their questions align with Lucio's main points above.

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Yeah, aligns quite well indeed, great notes and thank you for sharing the case study, Ali! It improved this thread 10x :).

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Thanks a lot for starting this thread Lucio and to Ali for sharing this case study with detailed analysis!
This is gold.
It explains the screening process and how it makes potential buyers more invested.

Is Sales (Fake) Screening Ethical?

I'm also thinking about whether this is an ethical sales method.
My answer is that it depends on whether your product or service genuinely delivers value.
If you deliver end value to your customers, then using these methods of screening and investment is fair and can even be value-adding as you want to find out the most motivated people to deliver value to.

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selffriend

Short comment: two of the exchanges that involves this "apply now" trick are colleges admitting students and companies hiring workers.

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Matthew Whitewood
Quote from Matthew Whitewood on April 25, 2021, 10:06 am

Is Sales (Fake) Screening Ethical?

I'm also thinking about whether this is an ethical sales method.
My answer is that it depends on whether your product or service genuinely delivers value.
If you deliver end value to your customers, then using these methods of screening and investment is fair and can even be value-adding as you want to find out the most motivated people to deliver value to.

Yeah, the method per se, it's OK.

My personal issue with it is that when I see it, I think "come on man, you're gonna make me waste time for this s*it, while we both know full well what this is actually about", and I might be a bit put off by the shenanigan.

Plus, I might consider it a (small) negative sign about the product and the level of sophistication of the product, since it might cater to less sophisticated folks.

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Matthew Whitewood
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Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on April 26, 2021, 2:09 am
Quote from Matthew Whitewood on April 25, 2021, 10:06 am

Is Sales (Fake) Screening Ethical?

I'm also thinking about whether this is an ethical sales method.
My answer is that it depends on whether your product or service genuinely delivers value.
If you deliver end value to your customers, then using these methods of screening and investment is fair and can even be value-adding as you want to find out the most motivated people to deliver value to.

Yeah, the method per se, it's OK.

My personal issue with it is that when I see it, I think "come on man, you're gonna make me waste time for this s*it, while we both know full well what this is actually about", and I might be a bit put off by the shenanigan.

Plus, I might consider it a (small) negative sign about the product and the level of sophistication of the product, since it might cater to less sophisticated folks.

I see what you mean.
Especially with such lengthy sales form.
It does take up people's time.

An honest & direct approach to selling is best when dealing with high-quality, power-aware buyers.

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selffriend

Yes, exactly.

I remember there was once a PU alumnus and he said the only reason he got into it is that he had read the article, but if it was for the sleazy marketing, he'd have passed.

And I remember thinking "wow, I didn't even think it was that sleazy, did this guy read other courses' sales pages? They're 10x sleazier".

He wrote a few messages on the forum, and I could see that he was at a very advanced station in life: very high-power attitude, "no BS" approach, and sounded very wealthy too.

That's the type of buyer that is going to be more put off by the various sales shenanigans, and probably more likely to pass up (but they're the minority).

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