Many sales people have this fairytale belief that there is some magic question that if asked will turn all their prospects into rabid buyers.
That would be nice but the idea is totally unrealistic.
For a start everyone is different.
Not only do they often want different things but their way of perceiving the world, their way of communicating and their way of making decisions can vary dramatically.
If there was a magic question it would have to not only uncover what a person wants but also how they understand how getting that would benefit them and how they make a decision that indeed it is of value.
Now, I don’t believe there is such a question but I believe there is one that comes close and you can read about it here ... wants v needs
I just rediscovered an article I read in the past that looked at it from another perspective.
This article focused on the fact that many salespeople are focused on the short-term.“
What do you need NOW” is the question most asked.
The writer contends that taking a long-term approach towards the problem at hand, and genuinely caring about the customer’s extended goals will be much more effective. (I have long since shared my view that sales is as simple as ABC = Always Be Caring)
He suggests asking instead,
“What result would you like to see long-term, to make you happy for this product/service?” This shows your dedication, and commitment to a continued relationship with them, and people will appreciate it more.
I have also seen this question worded …
“If we were to get together three years from now, what would have to happen professionally and personally for you to feel this was a valuable investment of your time and money?”
Now that’s a better question in some ways in that you get the customer thinking about themselves happily using the product or service and they share what would happen which gives you the benefits they are seeking. That information is valuable. With it you can adjust you offer to accurately meet their long terms desires.
Now, being the language geek that I can sometimes be I may word it differently.
Something like …
“If you decide to use this product today and we get together in X months from now what would have happened so that you are totally satisfied with the results you have gained? I mean what would you have seen or heard and how would you be feeling?”
I’d like you to notice a couple of things in that compound question.
“decide to use this product today” is marked out because I would say it in a lower tone of voice and a bit louder. This makes it a “hidden command” to their subconscious mind.
Notice also I have used the past tense “would have happened” and that has them looking from the past back towards now after having used the product for some time.
Finally, notice the use of the word “totally”. This may seem “over the top” but if accepted gives you their “dream” if they don’t accept it their objection will be with the word “totally” and not with the concept of being satisfied.
I would, however, be using this question AFTER the one mentioned in the article linked to above. And after I had confirmed there was fit between what I offered and what he desired.
You can read this old article here
Or, watch the video below.