You’ve seen the ads for the designer pharmaceuticals, haven’t you? The ads promise relief for a myriad of ailments, and they always end the same way – with a detailed description of the possible side affects:
“May cause drowsiness, restlessness, nausea, cramping, joint pain, flatulence, loss of concentration, trouble going to the bathroom, irritability, trouble pronouncing the letter ‘m’, tics, short-term memory loss, irrational fears that Mr. Whipple is out to kill you, poor credit ratings, intense searing heartburn, an attraction to David Hasselhoff, mild headaches, and in some cases a horrible death.”
By this point you’ve forgotten what problem the drug was supposed to fix!
My friend Jim Adams (NewHomesDirectory.com) pointed this out to me. He knows full well of my “formula” for why people change, and he applied it to these pharmaceutical offerings. Jim called me with his observation.
“Jeff, who would possibly consider taking a pill that could expose them to that kind of risk? I’ll tell you who – people who are in so much pain right this minute that they’ll do anything to get out of it, that’s who.”
Jim’s right – he gets it. If the pain is severe enough we’ll take extraordinary risks to make the pain stop.
Buying a home is risky (or at least it appears to be so in the eyes of a prospect). There is still so much negative news out there, so many nay-sayers, so many fears.
My partner, Jason Forrest, puts it this way: “Prospects today have to go through or over or around a myriad of brick walls just to walk through your door. It’s not easy to walk through the door of a sales office.” And all those prospects are motivated by the same thing: pain relief.
So how adept are you at discovering the pain? I’m not asking about whether you’re determining the prospect’s bedroom count or price point. I’m asking about the deep issues that are discovered through the deep questions. The questions that require skill, tact…and guts just to ask.
So many salespeople don’t want to ask the tough questions that will lead them to the most important answers. They’re not into probing. They don’t want to appear nosy. They are uncomfortable, so they don’t ask.
Look, I’m 47 and that means my annual physicals have taken on a….. uhhhhhh…… how do I say this?…. a rather unpleasant and exceedingly personal additional physical examination, if you get my drift. It’s not comfortable for me and I wish there were some other option. (There are a million jokes rushing through my mind; I’ll refrain.)
But not only is it uncomfortable for me; it’s also uncomfortable for my doctor. He told me so on my last exam. He said to me, “If it makes you feel better, this isn’t exactly the highlight of my day.” (For the record, that DID, in fact, make me feel better!).
Imagine, then, if my doctor said to himself, “Man, I am so uncomfortable with this procedure, I think I’ll pass. I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s a healthy guy. Let’s just let it go.” Would he be doing me a favor? NO!!!! He would be protecting himself, and not acting in my best interest.
Can I challenge you this week to take a deeper interest in your prospect, even if it means asking the tough questions in order to get to the heart of the prospect’s pain? You cannot solve a problem until you know what it is. Top professionals rely on a deep curiosity about their prospects, not just to advance the sale (which they do) but to connect with their customers on a deeper and more human level. This connection is the foundation both for the relationship and the sale.
Points to ponder:
– Are their particular areas of questioning that you struggle with? Are there certain questions that scare you? Chime in. And then write them down so you can practice asking the hard questions.
– How do you determine when it is safe to ask a question? Should you be trying to determine if it is safe?
– How would your presentation change if you saw yourself as a doctor and your prospect as a patient? Might that mindset help you today in your discovery process?
Solve their problem…and you’ll change their world.