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Almost all salespeople think that they are great. In fact, I have never met someone who says, “Hey, I’m not really that good.” Most salespeople just think that their natural ability is what it takes to sell. They forget that this is a profession, and like any profession, it has rules, strategy, practice and a little bit of science to it.

The most important aspect of selling is based on a single concept, and that is the one of probing and asking questions. Not just a few that are surface questions, but ones that go deeper and really find the whole story. Yes, asking questions and finding out what the customer wants or what their needs are is what is imperative for a great salesperson to succeed. Not talking, but asking questions and many of them. Most salespeople want to tell all about themselves, tell about the company and it’s history, and then tell all about the product and service and how great it is and what it will do.

Selling is a simple process of asking questions in a logical order to see if you can help in a situation. That might be to help the client with a problem, or give them something that they haven’t had or done before, or even just to improve the service that they desire. Either way, it is always done through a series of questions.

That is where mom comes in.

Mom knows how to ask questions and does it all the time. Here are a couple of examples. Mom asks Tommy as he came home from school, “Hi Tommy, how was school today?” His reply, “Fine.” Now mom asks since she is used to doing this, “So Tommy, what did you do today?” His reply, “Nothing.”

Now it is time for mom to go into her question mode.

From this point on, she will find out what Tommy did in school today and will not give up until she has a play by play of her child’s day at school.

“Well, what do you mean by nothing, did you not go to school today? Did you go to homeroom today? If so, what did you do? Did you have lunch, and who did you sit with? What did you do during recess today? Who did you beat up on the playground today?” This will go on until she has all the answers that she wants.

Now, her significant other comes home from work and is in a pretty foul mood. Mom asks (to her husband, partner, etc.) “Hi honey, so how was your day?” Their response is “lousy.”

She will now ask a series of questions to find out what was so troubling, so they will open up, talk about their day and be welcomed to such a good listener. Yes, that is correct, a good listener. Everybody likes a good listener, and especially when someone has something on their mind that is troubling them, be it in business, or at home.

Here are a few mom rules:

• Always ask questions

• Don’t stop until you know the story

• People like to talk about their problems or concerns

• People love a good listener

• Always have empathy and put the other person first and not the sale

• Be kind, be nice and always have cookies and milk available.

I said that there is a science to this earlier and most salespeople believe that their natural ability will carry them through the sales process, but they still can’t compete in asking nonstop questions like a mom on a mission.

My advice is, before you make a sales call today, either hang out with mom or just take her along, and watch her do her magic.


Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.

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