Never Answer An Unasked Question
Stop answering unasked questions. When the lull occurs, and it will with every prospect, ask him a question. Don’t make a statement! And once you ask the question, wait for a response.
Product/service knowledge is essential to determine if the prospect is the right one to buy what you are selling. This knowledge is NOT meant to be used to bury the prospect with facts and figures hoping that some of the facts and figures will convince him to buy.
Giving the prospect more information can lead to losing a sale. This only convinces the sales-person that even MORE explanation about the product/service is needed.
Don’t give the prospect reasons to raise objections by answering his unasked questions. Your job is to ask the questions and then evaluate whether the answers the prospect gives qualify him for your product or service.
Prospects Should Never Be Rescued
- Find another salesperson who will play the role of the prospect. Take a product or a service you sell and ask him the question, “Off the record, how do you see yourself using this?” The only stipulation is that
- the salesperson playing the prospect
- cannot give a negative answer, nor can he give you any answer for at least sixty seconds. Use a watch and time it.
- Sixty seconds seems like an eternity—get used to it. Ninety-nine percent of the prospects you don’t rescue will rescue themselves within 30 seconds.
- You may find that your salesperson/
- prospect will have even greater difficulty than you keeping quiet for sixty seconds.
Should he talk sooner, count to fifteen and then take whatever he said and rephrase it as a question. And then wait.
Continue to do this until you both become comfortable with waiting. Don’t rescue each other.
Remember, prospects who buy will always rescue themselves without any help from you.
Your job is to make sales. You were not hired to be a lifeguard.
Dont Spill Your Candy In The Lobby
Leaving sales literature or sending sales literature in place of being there yourself is a waste of
time and money, except in one situation. If the prospect has told you exactly what he needs
as a result of you questioning him and your sales literature is specifically confined to his need,
then send it or leave it. In any other situation, you are wasting your time, your company’s
money and perhaps more importantly, keeping yourself from prospecting for those who will
Every salesperson knows that “send me some literature” is a brush-off. Yet most salespeople
send the literature anyway. Why?
If the prospect doesn’t have the time for you, he will NOT have time for your literature.
When Setting Appointments Always Get Invited In
Begging is a habit that is reinforced by prospects because prospects have been trained by
salespeople who beg for a living.
Instead of Tim saying “...if I could have a five-minute appointment, only five minutes, I know
you would be interested,” he could have stopped being a beggar and said, “Mr. Smith, after I
meet with most CEOs, we jointly decide that my product is not appropriate for their needs.
However, 15 percent of CEOs see the value of my product. When would you like to determine
if you qualify as one of the 15 percent?”
Tim would get fewer appointments with this approach, but on the other hand, he would waste
less time on non-productive appointments and make more sales.
If you really want to stop begging, get a small tape recorder and tape your side of the conver-
sation. Then play it back to someone you trust and tell him to note down all of your begging
phrases. Once you have that list, ban those phrases from your vocabulary.
Beggars do make some money. Non-beggars make more money. Which would you rather
Knowing When To Take It Away
In order for this technique to work, you really must be prepared to walk out the door and not
look back. If you cannot do this, this technique will blow up in your face. However, if you are
truly prepared to walk away, this technique is incredibly powerful at eliminating objections.
There are a multitude of words and gestures that you can use to “take it away” depending on
what you are trying to accomplish and with whom.
Customers and prospects alike are famous for stating, in so many words, that the other guy
can do better for less. In essence, you want to mirror back to them what they just told you
and then state, not ask, “You did place the order.” Then do not speak until you get a
response. Either the order has been placed or not. If it has, it probably really is over for you.
If it hasn’t, then you deserve to know the reasons why. And when you find out why, you are
now learning what you need to do to get the order or keep the order.
Prospects who have given all the indications of being ready to buy, but who just resist closing,
are especially susceptible to having it taken away.
“Bill, you have given every indication that you are ready to buy. But for some reason you just
aren’t sharing, you keep stopping short. I think I should leave.” Then wait for a response.
Take it away ONLY if you are prepared to walk out the door. Once you take it away, wait for a
response regardless of how long it takes
Only The Prospect Handles Stalls And Objections
Many salespeople know exactly what objections will be raised at exactly what points in the
sales cycle. Why do they know this? Because this is how they have semi-consciously decid-
ed to conduct the sales cycle, and they insist the prospect/customer follow along.
Sit down and write out the objections that occur and when they occur in the sales cycle. Now
write down what you can do to answer those objections before they come up by reframing the
objection as a question you ask the prospect. Now start doing it. Simplistic? Yes. Difficult to
If you can, tape record your side of the conversation and then listen to determine when you
start overcoming objections instead of eliminating them. Then write out what question you
would ask to eliminate those objections from ever coming up.
Consistently follow this cycle of tape, listen, write, reframe for two to three months and you will
discover that you are now eliminating objections and no longer having to overcome them.
Eliminating objections is less time-consuming than overcoming objections. Eliminating them
gives you more selling time.
Answer Every Question With A Question
Reversing a question is simple. For example…
“Do you have this in green?”
“That’s an interesting question since we are talking about computers; why do you ask?”
“When was the last time one of these broke?”
“By broke, your concern is...?”
“Just yesterday my brother-in-law told me that your price is too high. What are you going to
“Too high compared to...?”
“Can you get this delivered in two weeks?”
“What happens in two weeks?”
“Do you offer leasing?”
“That’s interesting you ask about leasing, why?”
You cannot read minds. Unless you reverse the question, you have absolutely no idea why it
is being asked. Knowing why the question was asked will ultimately help you sell more effi-ciently.
Statements Are Not Questions
When a prospect makes a statement, you have to decide one of two things. Are you going to
take what he said and ask “Which means?”, or, are you going to just sit and wait until a ques-
tion is asked. Either approach is okay.
Statements do not require answers. If you want to know why a statement was made, ask the
prospect a question.
Have Prospects Close Themselves
The relationship between the salesperson and the prospect does not have to be adversarial.
If you can get the prospect to tell you why she is talking to you, reflect back the prospect’s
statements as questions. How do you start this happening? Simple. Ask the following ques-
tion: “Why did you think of coming in today?” Wait for a response. Take the response and
reflect it back.
“I came in because I know you sell this brand.”
“That’s interesting, why that brand?”
“Because my sister has one and it never breaks.”
“Never breaks...why is that important to you?”
And the prospect will give you a third reason why she wants to buy. Do this for another ten
questions and then ask the prospect: “What would you like me to do?”
Prospects want to buy; otherwise they would not be talking to you.
No Mutual Mystification
Eliminating mutual mystification is very simple. Go through the story and see if anything either
the prospect said or Bob said really means anything. Instead of Bob responding as he did,
what questions could he have asked to determine the meaning of what the prospect was say-
If you can, tape record your interaction with a prospect, and then go back through the tape
jotting down all the statements both you and the prospect make that sound good, but mean
If you think you know what someone said, you don’t know until you ask him.
The Send Me Some Literature Brushoff
You are in total control of whether or not you agree to send literature. There is no reason that
you should unless you know exactly why the prospect needs it and exactly what is going to
happen once the prospect has it. The only way you can learn these two things is to ask, ask,
ask until you get answers.
Tim has no idea why he is sending literature other than he can write down in his DayTimer that
he has a warm one. Tim is deluding himself into thinking that something might happen.
Unless you have a thorough understanding of what the person is looking for, and a firm com-
mitment from the person to do something once he has the literature, don’t waste your time
and the company’s money.
“Send me some literature” is the same thing as “I already gave at the office.”
No Money, No Sale
Bringing up the subject of money is not easy for many salespeople. However, if the subject is
brought up, and you learn what, if any, budget there is, you are now in a position where you
can decide to continue with the prospect or end it.
To find out what the budget is, just ask, “What is the range of your budget?” You do not have
to learn the exact dollar amount beyond which the person just will not go. Just question until
you get a budget range.
If you cannot get a range from the prospect, it is time to TAKE IT AWAY.
Once you know the budget range, and it turns out to be below anything you can possibly pro-
vide, you are in a position to end the relationship and move on to one where there is a sales
If the budget range covers your product/service, you are now that much closer to having the
Not everyone can afford what you sell. Find out if they can before you waste their time and
People Dont Buy Features And Benefits, They Buy Ways To Overcome Pain
The story on the reverse side contains prospect pain statements that Tim ignores in his rush to
make his presentation. Tim’s need to present causes him to completely ignore what the
prospect is saying. For example, “I have a real need for what you are selling. In fact, I have to
have it or staying in business will be almost impossible.”
Tim goes right on ignoring this pain statement. He should have stopped the prospect and
asked, “Staying in business will be almost impossible?” By asking this question, Tim is
increasing the prospect’s pain. Once the prospect is ready for a trip to the hospital, Tim will
then present the solution to the pain.
You cannot ignore a prospect, or a customer who is in pain, and get away with it. If you do,
he will take it out on you because from his point of view, you were insensitive and did not lis-
Instead of Tim making his presentation, he should have listened to the presentation that the
prospect was making.
People in pain resent people who cannot take the pain away. You sell pain relief.
What You Know Can Hurt You, So Dummy Up
Being a dummy does not mean you immediately forget everything you know about the prod-
ucts and services that you sell. In many instances, forgetting this information could get you
into quite a serious situation. Think of the pharmaceutical salespeople.
Once you have this information, the vast majority of salespeople now believe that by telling
anyone who will listen what this information is, a sale will be made.
Consider this for a moment: people buy a product because it solves some pain they have.
People do not buy because some salesperson educates them. People in pain want relief, not
Do not assume that you know what the prospect is looking for nor that the prospect has any
interest in knowing what you know about a product/service.
How do you go about doing this?
Ask questions. Then take the answers and reflect them back to the prospect.
The prospect makes the decision to buy based on his level of pain and budget. The sale is
NEVER made based on the intelligence and knowledge of the salesperson.
If the prospect feels that your solution to his pain is within the budget, he will be convinced
that you are the best salesperson in the world. His perception has nothing to do with what
you actually have or don’t have in your head.
The most successful salesperson is an educated dummy.