Isn't It "Obvious?" (Part 1)
There are four reasons why I want you to ask the "obvious" question during an interview with a customer. The reasons are as follows:
1. Great stories.
2. The right questions.
3. Their perspective
What's obvious to one person can be a source of oblivion to another. This is applicable to when a salesman meets a customer. Why? Because the salesperson works for one kind of a company, and the customer works for a completely different kind of a company in a completely different kind of a role. And so the two of them are not likely to agree on what "obvious" may be.
They worry about asking an obvious question – as if there was a death penalty associated with it. I’ve spoken to 30,000 salespeople and none of them have ever told me that they were kicked out of an office for asking a too obvious of a question. But what sometimes happens – and many times does in fact happen – is that the obvious question triggers a story. So it’s not the question; it’s the story answer it produces. That’s the key concept. So what question is going to get you onto the very subject about how important solving their issues are and how you can help? How are you going to get into that conversation if you’re not talking about that subject? How are you going to get there if you’re not talking about some “obvious” question?
Ask the right questions. You need to think about the world from the point-of-view of the person you’re meeting with. Imagine being in that kind of a company which makes money in a certain way and has organized itself with a certain go-to-market strategy. It is constructed in a unique way and has a certain kind of market share and they do things in a particular way. What questions can you ask will really get to the heart of the matter?
Really get into the customer’s shoes, so to speak, and imagine the world from where they are and the only way to do that is to research. But once the thorough research is completed, you’re now able to ask the most important question. It’s as if you’ll be the "mirror" organization and this client was meeting his counterpart (you) and the two of you now completely understand each other. How can you solve your client's challenges? What is that one problem that is the trickiest of them all?
This is the kind of question that you want to be asking: How is the client solving those "obvious" issues?
About the Author:
Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world. DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win. DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.
About Molly D Protosow
Molly Protosow is the COO and Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.