You know about probing for “pain,” to find out what’s wrong, what a prospect is not happy about, or don’t like about their current situation.

But there’s another question that should be asked before that kind of question, says sales guru Craig James: “What do you like about your current vendor/solution/situation?”

It may seem self-defeating to ask a question that lets the prospect say something favorable about the status quo you’re trying to overturn. But here are three reasons this question makes sense:

  1. It tells you what you’ll need to provide as part of any solution you will propose.
  2. It builds rapport by giving your prospect an opportunity to validate his previous decisions.
  3. If the buyer has stuck with their current vendor out of mere habit, the question may help them discover there isn’t all that much they like.

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