You Don’t Clean a Loaded Gun While Looking Down the Barrel

The commitment and consistency concept:

  1. Ask an easy, no-brainer question first that the person knows the answer to without having to think, in order to get them to go on record with their answer.

  2. And then ask progressively more difficult and more difficult questions until you get the ultimate concession you’re seeking.

  3. When people go on record, rarely will they back down. They want to be consistent with each previous answer so they won’t lose face. A small commitment gets them started. Consistency is the motivator that gets them to make larger concessions.

They did some research on commitment and consistency with some brokers in Los Angeles. They were to make their cold calls from a list given to them by their sales manager. The second question they were to ask: “Do you have $10,000 you’d like to invest?”


They made their calls. I’m sure they heard answers like these. “$10,000? That’s none of your business.” “Invest? I never invest.” “$10,000 to invest? Are you nuts?” “Who are you? Never heard of you or your company.”


They made several hundred calls and didn’t get a single appointment. The sales manager put the brokers in their cars and drove through the territory they were calling. Beverly Hills. Bel Air. These people don’t have $10,000? These people don’t invest?


Right question. Wrong sequence. It’s like the progression of cleaning your Glock 19. First, remove the magazine. Second, empty the chamber. Third, disassemble the gun. Then clean.



The brokers went back to their office and re-positioned the $10,000 question as question number six. They started calling again. They got appointments that led to sales. Timing is everything.


Did Anyone Get the License Plate Number?


You’re looking for a new car. You’re standing on the car lot and the salesman comes sprinting out of the showroom towards you. Not a good sign. Someone’s not meeting quota.


“So-o-o,” the salesman smiles as he slowly rubs his hands together, “what’s it going to take to get you into this car today?”


You step back, pushing away with the palms of your hands, “Hey…nothing. I’m just looking.”


The salesman asked the right question, but at the wrong time. When asking qualifying questions, timing is everything. The prospect’s gone on record as “just looking”. It will be hard for him to back down on his answer without losing face. From now on, all his responses must be consistent with “just looking”.


What would have been a better first question? Pick one. “Is that your car over there?” “Been looking long?” “All-wheel drive?”

For the cornerstone blog on the commitment and consistency technique see my blog “You Can Play with Your Roadkill, but Don’t Eat It.”


To see how commitment and consistency is used in your personal life see my blog “I Know What You’re Doing to Me, So Why Can’t I Stop It?”


To see how to develop questions to qualify/disqualify prospects see my blog “Quit Shooting from the Lip. You’ll Hurt Yourself.”


To see how you use commitment and consistency on yourself (“self-persuasion”) see my blog “Please Stop Me from Twisting My Arm Behind My Back.”



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