Is that an oasis or a mirage? The Magic Question in sales prospecting

by on May 5, 2010 · 8 Comments POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog
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Sales prospecting techniques that separate buyers from the wannabees

Even on the best days, sales prospecting can feel like a long walk across dry sands. You get a lot of no’s – so when you finally get some interest, it’s like coming across a pool of clear, cold water.

But did you find an oasis – or a mirage?

To be successful in sales, you need to find out quickly. You simply cannot afford to spend your precious selling time with someone who’s never going to buy.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell when you’ve come across a time-wasting tire-kicker. When you ask for the decision maker, they volunteer. They’ll insist they have budget and the authority to say yes. They assure you they have the boss’s ear, and if you get the right proposal to them, they will help you navigate the inner workings of their companies and get it approved.

They’re convincing because they believe it themselves – and because they think you might be the ticket to their success. They think, “If I can get some great ideas to take to the boss, I could be a hero. And if it doesn’t fly, well, it didn’t cost me anything.”

There’s a question you can ask in your very first encounter to disqualify wannabe buyers. It’s conversational, not confrontational. But the answer you receive will tell you immediately whether this is a legitimate selling opportunity or not.

The question: “What will you do?”

As in: If you’re persuaded that my solution meets your needs, what will you do?

Or: If I can meet your budget requirements, what will you do?

Or: If, at the end of this meeting, you believe that my product can add value, what will you do?

It’s a gutsy question, no doubt about it. But that’s why it’s powerful. Legitimate buyers will be able to tell you exactly what the next step will be. Wannabe’s will hem and haw. And then you can decide just how much of your precious selling time you want to invest.

photo credit: Barnaby

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8 Comments on This Post

  1. May 5, 2010 - 9:58 pm

    Great Post and fantastic question! I can see it now. non-qualified prospects will answer the question “what will you do” with “what do you mean”? as they stall for time to think how to handle being caught in a bind.

    Qualified prospects will respond to the question with “good question”. They’ll consider it a fair question because they have both power and interest.

    Can’t think of a faster, or better way to qualify than posing that question!

  2. May 5, 2010 - 9:58 pm

    Great Post and fantastic question! I can see it now. non-qualified prospects will answer the question “what will you do” with “what do you mean”? as they stall for time to think how to handle being caught in a bind.

    Qualified prospects will respond to the question with “good question”. They’ll consider it a fair question because they have both power and interest.

    Can’t think of a faster, or better way to qualify than posing that question!

  3. May 5, 2010 - 5:58 pm

    Great Post and fantastic question! I can see it now. non-qualified prospects will answer the question “what will you do” with “what do you mean”? as they stall for time to think how to handle being caught in a bind.

    Qualified prospects will respond to the question with “good question”. They'll consider it a fair question because they have both power and interest.

    Can't think of a faster, or better way to qualify than posing that question!

  4. May 5, 2010 - 5:58 pm

    Great Post and fantastic question! I can see it now. non-qualified prospects will answer the question “what will you do” with “what do you mean”? as they stall for time to think how to handle being caught in a bind.

    Qualified prospects will respond to the question with “good question”. They'll consider it a fair question because they have both power and interest.

    Can't think of a faster, or better way to qualify than posing that question!

  5. January 20, 2011 - 10:33 am

    Why sales cycles are so long

  6. January 20, 2011 - 10:33 am

    Why sales cycles are so long

  7. April 28, 2011 - 9:34 am

    Make the sales prospect tell you no

  8. April 28, 2011 - 9:34 am

    Make the sales prospect tell you no

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