I must be a moron. Stupid. Dumb. Blind. Certainly, I couldn’t have been paying attention or it wouldn’t have taken me 28 years to figure this one out!
For years I have been instructing salespeople to ask this powerful, game-changing question. Instead of handling an objection, instead of saying OK, instead of following up, instead of explaining your position, instead of doing nearly anything else, I have asked salespeople to write down, commit to memory, practice and use this one question. What is the magic question?
No, not “Why do you want to know?” “Why?” is the question.
The problem is that today, while writing a script for a client, it dawned on me that the question actually sucks. Not because it’s only one word, but because of what occurs when a prospect answers the question.
On the positive side, it provides a salesperson with more and better information from which another question can be asked. All of the great reasons for asking that question are still there.
BUT…on the negative side, when a prospect answers certain “Why?” questions:
- why the timing isn’t right,
- why the product or service isn’t right,
- why they are looking at 5 of your competitors,
- why they are going with the lowest price,
- why they need to think it over,
- why they want to go in a particular direction that isn’t favorable to you,
- why you can’t meet the decision maker,
- why they won’t share certain information,
- why they won’t reveal the competitors,
- why they won’t spend more money,
- What if there was a better way?
- And you wouldn’t consider another option.
- Would you be willing to discuss alternatives?
- Is it OK if I push back?
- Can I ask you a question about that?