In sales, it’s not always easy to know where you stand. Sometimes you feel like you’re right on the verge of getting the sale – and then nothing happens. Other times, a buyer you’d just about given up on comes through with an order.

So here’s a novel idea: Just ask your buyer.

Make it really easy for them. Simply say, “So on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is low and 10 is high, where’s your interest level?”

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No pressure
You can use the 1-to-10 question at any stage in the sale, from the initial prospecting call right up to the close. It doesn’t make buyers defensive because you’re not asking them to make a decision. You’re simply asking for a status check.

And whatever the answer, you’ll know exactly what to do next:

  • 9’s and 10’s are the obvious sweet spot. The buyer is telling you, “I want to work with you to get this done.”
  • 7’s and 8’s mean you have some work to do but you have a solid opportunity to close the sale. These buyers might tell you something like this: “Your price is right, but quality is a concern,” or “I’m tempted, but I’m afraid switching to your product will be too disruptive.” You still have a long road ahead, but you know why your sale isn’t moving forward and what you have to fix.
  • 6 or lower means you’re miles apart. Don’t be surprised if the buyer can’t paint a picture that gets you anywhere close to a 10. And if she can’t, consider whether it makes sense for you to continue to put more time and effort into this sale.

Planning tool
The 1-to-10 question is also a great planning tool. It tells you how many of the opportunities in your pipeline are likely to result in a sale. And it allows you to see where you’ll get the biggest payoff for your time and effort.

For example, if you have lots of 8’s and 9’s, your priority should be to nail them down. If it’s mostly 5’s and 6’s, you may be better off ramping up your prospecting efforts to get better leads into the pipeline.

That’s a lot of value from one simple question. Try it on your next sales call and see where it leads.

photo credit: sciondriver

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