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Most sales people think that they are great. I have never met one that said, “Hey, I am not really that good.” Most sales people think their natural ability is what it takes to sell. They forget this is a profession and any profession has rules and a little science to it.

The most important aspect of selling is based on a single concept – probing. Asking questions and finding out what the customer wants or what their needs are. Not talking, but asking. Most sales people want to talk about themselves, talk about the company and its 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. That might be to help the client with a problem or to do something better than the company has in place. Sometimes, you keep asking questions and you lead the customer to an area where he or she wasn’t expecting to go. The key here is the way you control the situation. Questions always put you in control, because the person listening has to respond to the question being asked of them.

Selling or negotiating is always done through a series of questions.

That is where women come in.

Women know how to ask questions and they do it all the time. They are the best at this and will beat men every time. They simply have more practice in this area and practice makes perfect.

We need to break the concept women are best into two categories: Mom and wife.

I am not sexist, never have been nor will be. I am a fan of a species who has got it together and can show the rest of us men how to do it right. No matter how hard we try, practice or go to seminars, we will never be as good as women. They own this territory and we must accept this.

Here are a couple of examples:

Mom asks Tommy when 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. “Well, what do you mean by nothing. Did you not go to school today? Did you go to homeroom today? If you did, who did you sit next to? What did you do during recess? Who did you beat up on the playground?” This will go on until she has all the answers.

Now hubby comes home from work and he is in a pretty foul mood. Mom – now wife – asks, “Hi honey, so how was your day?” His respons, “Lousy.” She will now ask questions to find out what was troubling him, enabling her to be a good listener. Yes, a good listener. Everybody likes a good listener and especially someone who has something troubling him or her in business or at home.

Here is my favorite. I used it in my seminars. It didn’t matter what country I was in, what language they spoke, how old the people were, what their income status was, or anything to do with race, height, weight or shoe size.

The husband is in Las Vegas for a convention. He usually goes to sleep rather early and there is a three-hour time difference from home – where the wife is – and Las Vegas.

The wife calls hubby’s room at 12:30 a.m. (wife time) and in Vegas it is 9:30 p.m. which is his normal bedtime forgetting the time difference, which means he should be exhausted, and there is no answer. She calls at 1 a.m. and still no answer. Now she calls every three minutes while drinking a bottle of wine (that she opened at 1:18 a.m. due to her aggravation).

Still no answer and the wife passes out sometime after a strength training infomercial, probably around 2:23 a.m. The next morning around 9:30 a.m., the husband calls the wife.

Hubby says, “Hi honey” (silence). She now says, “Where were you?” Hubby says, “Out”

She now asks 300 questions that start with, “With who, where did you go, what time did you get in, what did you eat, what did you wear” and the questions go on like it it was an interrogation of a murder victim.

As I said, no one does it better? Women, I applaud you.

So here are a few women’s 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.

My advice is before you make a sales call today, either hang out with a woman 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


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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