Ask and You Will Receive… Part 2

Leadership

It’s not about control.
Let me put it another way… It’s NOT about control.
I’m sorry, one more time… IT’S NOT ABOUT CONTROL!

So here’s my advice…
Stop trying to control everything.

I was having a conversation with an aspiring young salesperson recently who had just spent a few days and a few hundred dollars learning the “Art of Selling”.

The “whole trick”, he said, is to stay in control of the process… and that, he said, means asking questions.

“So THAT’S the trick,” said I.

“Yup,” he said…
“Ask questions… stay in control… close sales.”

I’m not really into tricks… so I asked a question :)

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Now I must tell you… I really disagree with his line of thinking.

And while I completely understand the important role of questions in the sales process… I see their usefulness for a very different reason. You see, I don’t believe the purpose IS to stay in control… in fact, I don’t even believe it’s in the best interest of the salesperson to try to stay in control.

Even more to the point…

If we are dealing with a true decision maker who has ultimate “yes” or “no” authority and complete purchasing power… then we are absolutely kidding ourselves if we think we are in control at all.

And that statement is true whether we are dealing with the CEO in a corporate boardroom… or a consumer shopping from the comfort of their own livingroom.

Questions are important, to be sure… but only to clarify… qualify… and build honest rapport.

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Okay, so what’s all this, “Ask and you will receive…” stuff from the Scripture verse in Part 1?

Here’s what I believe.

Ask, and you will receive… an answer.
Plain and simple.
And that is all we can ask.

Ask a general question, and you will receive… a general answer.
Ask an ambiguous question, and you will receive… an ambiguous answer.
Ask a clear and specific question, and you will receive… a clear and specific answer.

In any new interaction, business or otherwise, we ask questions that allow us to determine what, if any, potential relationship exists.

Is this person a potential fit in any area of my life? Are they someone who is interested in the same hobby or issues… do they have similar hot-buttons… were they raised with the same core principles? Can I invite them to an event… maybe to my church… or are they an ideal prospect for my product or service? Do I even trust them at all? Do they trust me?

We simply clarify, qualify and build honest rapport… that’s it.
Whatever we don’t know, we ask. For example,

We clarify their priorities, experiences, buying habits, thought processes and preferences.
We clarify their comfort levels, goals, current relationships, time-tables and expectations.
We clarify the next step… who needs what… who’s doing what… and who’s paying for what.

Yes, we clarify all of the unknowns so that agreement can be reached… even if that agreement means we’re not right for each other and we agree to part friends.

Ask… and you’ll receive an answer.

 

A few real life examples next time.

 

Photo Credit:

Victor Bezrukov

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