Do you know the most effective way to sell someone or to get
them to alter their point of view? Ask questions.
|Can you say that in the form of a question?|
I read Daniel Pink’s new book called To Sell Is Human. It is a
clear and concise articulation of the simple yet frequently misunderstood idea
that we are all in sales. Everyone from the CEO to the receptionist is part of
the sales team trying to develop relationships with current or prospective
customers as well as influencers like journalist, bloggers and key thought
We are selling ourselves, products, services or ideas most
of the day when we engage with others. We sell to our children, spouses, bosses,
direct reports, significant others, parents, colleagues and even to the cop
that pulls you over for running a red light. We are all trying to move someone
from one place to another.
And with information so plentiful in both a B2B and B2C
market place, the power shifts are very different from the past when the seller
held more of the cards. Think of how much information you have when you buy a
car or a TV before you enter a dealer or store. (If you even physically go
somewhere to buy). The playing field has
You might be trying to convince someone of changing their
view point and in their hand is a smart phone with access to most of the world’s
One particular thread that I pulled out of the themes woven
in this book really struck me as extremely insightful.
Do you asking enough questions when you are talking?
Imagine you are visiting new customers and have 15 minutes
of their time. They may know quite a lot about you and your company before you
enter their office. How can you best used you time with them to make a
sale? From reading To Sell is Human and thinking
about this, I became aware of a powerful idea that you may be able to use in
your next sales call or interaction where you want to move someone closer to
your own thinking.
NO STATEMENTS. JUST
1. Don’t make any
statements during your visit or interaction. Only ask questions as if
you were an inquisitive 9 year old. This
takes practice but is the trait of the successful and a wise lesson to learn.
Consider a sales call where you conversation is only in
question form- like the TV show Jeopardy.
- Why do you currently buy from our competitor?
- What aren’t they so good at?
- If you imagine a supplier who
wowed you, what would they be able to do for you that your current supplier
doesn’t or won’t do?
- Is a lower price the sole driver
for this wow or is there some other benefit that might make you switch?
- When do you usually make this
decision for each year’s purchases?
- Is it timed to your financial
planning? If so, when is it usually started and completed?
At some points you might be
compelled to start you pitch. Don’t do it. Keep asking questions. You can pitch
in question form and it is a more effective method of communicating your product or service benefits.
- Did you know that there is only
one supplier in our industry who has one the Quality Award for the last 5
- Did you know that only the
company I represent supplies 8 of the 10 largest manufacturers in our industry?
- Did you know that we have an on
time delivery record of 99.4% in 2012 and we are aiming for 100%?
The lesson from this book is clear. We can convince others when we aren't selling but instead are acting like interested human beings trying to learn. Whether it is a customer, journalist or your colleague, stop talking so much as ask interesting questions. It will help identify opportunities.
Did I make myself clear?
I am a
marketing professional with over 30 years of experience creating success. If
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You can comment on this blog, send an email to me at
JeffreyLynnSlater@gmail.com or as the Car Talk guys on NPR like to say,
write your question on the back of a $20 bill and mail it to me. Thanks for
traveling along with me on this journey.
Labels: effective selling, Marketing Moments, questions, we are all in sales