“Suppose we settle for half of what you would be willing to give me if the bone were still lodged in your throat.”
That’s what British Surgeon Joseph Lister said when asked what the charge was for his services after he removed a fish bone stuck in a rich man’s throat. The next time you are talking with prospects, try listening to yourself. Are you asking questions for basic business information during the sales call or are you asking questions about issues that might concern your customers? If you’re only asking questions about the business–how many people are employed, how large the plant is, when the purchase is going to be made–these questions about your customer’s business motivate no one to buy. Why? There’s no pain–no fish bone stuck in the throat. Customers respond to products and services when they need or want what you have to offer. Have you noticed that customers buy when there’s a sense of urgency? You can’t put fish bones in your customers’ mouths. What you can do is make sure you’ve identified a need or problem that concerns your customer. You do this by asking questions to uncover needs and wants. When you ask these questions and your customers answer, your customers understand that they have a need, it’s important and they have to act–which is to buy–from you now. Your questions–the ones that uncover important customer concerns– can create the same urgency as a stuck fish bone. Bon appetit–or rather good selling.