I just hired a new bookkeeper a few weeks ago.

When I as interviewing for bookkeepers, I had a number of questions I asked each one.

These questions were my "evaluation criteria" as the purchaser of services.

One of my personal criteria was discretion.

How well would my personal bookkeeper hold her knowledge about me as private and confidential?

Some people might think me silly for this, but I don’t want people knowing the financial details of my business.

Anyway, one of the questions I asked to determine how good a bookkeeper would be at maintaining my privacy was…

Will you sign a confidentiality agreement?

I thought that was a pretty good question.

Here’s a little behind the scenes insight though.

That wasn’t a question I came up with in advance.

No. I came up with that question on the fly, in the middle of interviewing one of the candidates.

And I hired the woman I asked that question of, and I am happy with my decision.

But guess what… I never followed through with the confidentiality agreement.

The most important decision for me as "purchaser" was determining if this person was trustworthy.

My stated request of a confidentiality agreement wasn’t high-level, must-have sort of thing. It was more of a "this’d be a good idea" kind of thing.

And that is a useful insight to remember when selling.

Not all issues are real. Not all "objections" are real.

Some are just freakin ideas that pop into your purchasers head. Often times the idea pops into their head because they heard of someone else who did it that way.

Hey I used to sell big business software and computer technology systems. And client confidentiality agreements were common.

Hmmm… do you think maybe that’s where that idea came from?

As a seller, you need to determine which issues and objections are real and important, and which are just noise in the sales discussion.

I don’t expect my bookkeeper to be great at determining these priorities. She just told me that yes she would sign such an agreement without probing deeper to find out why I asked or whether or not this was a real important requirement or not.

I do expect you to be great at this.

There are few simple but elegant ways of questioning people that allow you to find out whether an issue is real or not and whether or not it’s important without causing you to look like a jerk to your prospect. You can hear these ways for yourself on the Persuasive Selling Skills Audio Program right now.

Sell with Pride!

Shameless Shamus Brown