Obstacles & Testing

Simply testing the person or placing obstacles in their path serves to prime them, as it’s additional effort they must do and something additional they must overcome.

Underlying Psychology/Biases

When you test a person, either they will make an effort to pass the test or not. Those that do make that effort are even more qualified, because you now know they will put in additional effort when they need to.


The specific techniques you can use to test a person are the same ones that you can use to provoke objections at the Disarmament stage, which include:

Included in UPP:

  • Exclusion confirmation
    • Excluding the person. “This may not be for you”. And gauging their reaction;
  • Negative anchoring
    • Throwing out extremes and gauging how they react. “This will be very expensive”. “This will take a lot of effort”. “Are you still in?”;
  • Starting with the negative
    • Asking questions in the negative form. “Would you be against buying?”, versus, “Will you buy?”;
  • Preempting labeling
    • Taking the problems the person is thinking of it and stating them yourself. “I know you’ll think this is risky, but we do [ABC] to prevent it”;
  • Adverse transparency
    • Mentioning small flaws or problems and gauging whether they have a problem. “Most of my clients get results, but not all. Do you still want to proceed?”;
  • Implementation and trials
    • Asking how they would implement something, and gauging whether the response is practical, or a vague, false one. “If you were to buy this, how would you do it? Walk me through it”;

Not included in UPP:

  • Unexpected rigidity
    • Throwing out a last-minute obstacle and gauging whether they make the effort. “Actually, I forgot to mention you can’t do it at this price, as it expired yesterday. Do you consider the new price ridiculous?”;


  • Challenging the “yes”
    • A technique that is also adverse transparency. Forcing the person to stop and think, even if you risk losing them. The ones that still say are even more qualified;
  • Intentional mistakes
    • Typos or intentional mistakes are a great testing tool, because they force the person to put more attention into the text than if it were well-written. The same principle behind hard to read fonts;
  • More obstacles
    • Unexpected rigidity is a great type. “Oh, I forgot to mention, but we’re not available today. You have to apply to book time with us tomorrow. Is this still OK with you?”;
  • Harder to read fonts
    • When a font is harder to read, the person has to make more effort to read, and they are more qualified. It filters the readers;
  • “I need a commitment”
    • Even when something seems to be going the right way, forcing the person to make it real is a type of obstacle or additional commitment;
  • Terms and conditions
    • Nowadays, you can’t just click “Accept” on a software’s terms and conditions;
    • You have to wait some time and scroll to the bottom;
    • They can argue the choice is more conscious this way;

Commercial/Known Uses

  • Challenging the “yes”, used by quality coaches such as Rich Litvin;

Key Takeaways

  • Both testing the person and placing obstacles are great to qualify someone. Some people won’t jump the hurdles, but those that do are even more qualified;
  • There are multiple mechanisms to do this – the same as for provoking objections at the Disarmament stage – but the key principle is to test the person somehow and gauge their commitment;