Curiousity Killed the Cat, But the Sales Cat Came Back
July 7, 2018
I remember when my kids were little. The constant stream of questions. Are we there yet? How does a caterpillar become a butterfly? What if the car breaks down? True story-my son said this, and ten minutes later the car broke down! Well, you get the point. When we are children, we have an insatiable curiosity for all things. We wandered the world in wonder and awe.
Then we grow up, or maybe we grow out of being curious. Perhaps it was the incessant questions we asked when we were young, or our parents losing patience. Whatever the cause we lose this valuable life skill. Anyone can learn to be more curious; you only have to try.
Learn more than you have to before you meet a person. I am fond of finding the reason behind the why of all things. Seeing the idea behind the way of peoples actions can tell you a lot about them. Learning to ask why can help you in all areas of life.
Have you ever wondered why someone asked you to do something? What if it was to move your car? Stay an extra ten minutes at work? Wait for them as they were late? Studies have shown when you give the reason why people are more compliant in doing what you ask. Ellen Langer, a Harvard Psychologist, published a research study on the power of stating because after a request. Mind you; the study was in 1978; there were no computers at this time. People waited in line for copies at the copier. This is the overview of that study: The study was to see if the word because resulted in higher compliance. The first request was' "Excuse me, may I use the copier to make five copies? The compliance was 60%. The second request was,"Excuse me, may I use the copier to make five copies, because I am in a rush? The compliance rate was 90%! All due to the word because.
Who will be impacted
What you learn in the early phases by asking questions can prevent you from fielding objections, stalled sales and more. Are you asking the right questions to bulletproof your deal? Be measured and respect the timing of asking the big four- budget, authority, need, and timing. When you ask these questions, give them because after the request and make sure it is valid. When you give the reason behind the why people don't mind and often comply.
What new initiatives are top priorities? What could derail the purchase? Human resources are getting more scarce every day in business. Even if the money is there, they may not have the time or resources. What are the competing agendas of the buying committee? How can you design a fit for everyone? What is the cost of do nothing? Get curious about the inner workings of the buying and decision making criteria. What has to happen to move forward?
How will they implement the change? How will this impact other areas of the business? What if no decision is made? How will this affect the bottom line, revenue, cost and their customers? How will they benefit from the change in one year, five, ten? How can you make it easier for them to say yes?
Why did they send the bid out? Why is the person I used to meet with no longer here? Why are they expanding, contracting? Not growing? Why would they go with a lesser option at the same cost? Why did you lose the last sale? Why did you win the previous deal? Why can't you get in front of the decision maker? Why are they not seeing the value? Why did the last client see value? Asking why can produce more sales in less time.
Where do they plan to be in one year? Five years? Ten years? Where is the industry heading? Automation? Mergers? Acquisitions? Where would they like to see the most growth? Greatest cost reduction? Where do they plan to expand? Where do they see a fit for your solution? Where do they see the most significant threat in the market?
Ask the where, what who, when and how to bulletproof your sale. Don't be afraid to activate the sense of curiosity that's still inside from your childhood. Just don't ask questions like,"Are we there yet? "What if the car breaks down?" Or the great one, "Where do babies come from?"
Get curious in your conversations and don't forget to give the reason behind the why of your questions to bulletproof your sales.
Luck can be found at the intersections of hard work and perseverance.