Back when I was a young pup in sales, I knew a salesman who bragged a lot.
He bragged a lot about how good a salesman he was. He bragged a lot about being a minor league baseball player. He bragged a lot about how many girls he had been with.
He bragged a lot about a lot of things.
And a lot of what he bragged about, I figured out wasn’t true.
But I remember one thing he said that turned out to be pretty measure of a good salesman.
What this dude said was that he was a great salesman because he "asked the hard questions", the ones that other sales reps were afraid to ask.
That idea stuck in my mind for a long time.
It stuck in my mind because even though I wasn’t really sure exactly what he meant, I had this gut feeling that he was telling the truth on this one.
I mean even though he didn’t tell me what those "hard questions" were (and I didn’t ask – hmmm…), I had a feeling that there were questions that I wasn’t asking of my prospects, and that this lack of knowledge was probably costing me sales.
The easy questions are ones that essentially ask the prospect what they want.
How can I help you?
Tell me what you are looking for.
These are simple, and may seem direct and to the point. But they don’t have they don’t give you enough information. If you are only asking questions like these above, then you probably have a closing ratio of 30% or less.
The hard questions go after the prospect’s motivation and commitment.
- Why do they want to purchase?
- Why do they want to do it now?
- How committed are they to solving the problem?
- Do they have enough buckaroos to solve the problem?
- Do they have another supplier they are already committed to?
These questions can be hard because as a kid you were told not to talk to people about munney.
These questions are also hard because they challenge people. They border on challenging someone’s honesty and integrity, and if not phrased right, they can offend some people.
But you got to ask the hard questions.
Otherwise you are assuming and hoping that the deal will go your way if you do the right things, give a good pitch, and put together a great proposal.
I believe that asking the hard questions truly is one important mark of a great salesman.
I can show you how to make the hard questions easy to ask with my Persuasive Selling Skills Audio Program. You’ll see in depth how to ask the tough questions that uncover your prospect’s motivation and commitment. Get yours here now.
Sell with Pride,
Shameless Shamus Brown