The first question you should ask a potential customer…

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It can be music to the ears when a client or prospect says, “I think I’m ready to make a decision”. But how did we end up there? Let’s step back for a moment and look at the first conversation you should be having with every client…

Charlie Brown's Super Book of Questions and Answers

“Have you already decided to make a change and are looking at your options?”,


“Are you still trying to decide if it’s worth it to change?”

Tiny question, huge results. Each response will have a completely different path for the customer to follow:

  1. If they’ve decided to change and are looking for vendors, you will only need to demonstrate why you’re better than your competitors.
  2. If they haven’t decided to make a change, you’ll need to focus on educating them on the challenges and benefits of making the change before you can jump into differentiation.

The above aren’t rules by any means, we typically recommend “planting seeds” (aka pointing out the subtle differences between ourselves and our competitors) at an early stage.  

The important thing is to calibrate your message to best suite your customer’s buying situation.   

If you fail to understand what frame of mind they’re in, you risk trying to squeeze a square customer through a round hole.

Keep in mind that accurate and timely information is of immense value.  Don’t make the mistake of giving information before you get information. Getting information before giving it will save you from giving: 

  1. Too much information (more than is necessary to make the sale) 
  2. The wrong information (based on the prospect’s needs, wants, desires or problems) 
  3. Information that could derail or confuse your prospect

Your job isn’t selling goods or services, it’s helping people become comfortable with buying from you and giving themselves permission to buy now. Remember that information is a most valuable resource. Being a master at uncovering needs, problems, prejudices, concerns and desires in a timely and truthful way will have you wrapped in the ribbon while you’re crossing the finish line.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
-John Quincy Adams   

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