Helping a Prospect Discover His Problems

Robert Terson

You would think that a prospect would be in touch with his problems, difficulties 100% of the time. Alas, you’d be wrong. Which means it’s your responsibility, assuming that you want to make a sale, to help your prospect get in touch with himself, i.e. the aforementioned problems, difficulties.

How do you do that?

By asking questions, getting the individual talking. The more the prospect talks about himself, his business situation, the more information you’re going to ascertain, but that’s only half of it. The other half is this: as he talks about himself, about his business situation, his problems, difficulties are going to rise up in his consciousness and, in many cases, he’ll experience a slap-in-the-forehead awakening. Wow, I hadn’t thought about that!

If Socrates had been a salesperson, here’s a short list of probing statements and questions he would have found useful:

Tell me a little about yourself.

Tell me what makes (prospect’s name) truly feel alive.

Everyone has a fascinating story to tell, what’s yours?

Everyone has a dream, what’s yours?

What do you want more than anything else in this world?

What’s the biggest problem you’d give almost anything to solve?

How did you get into this business?

What is the most important thing I need to know to be of service to you today

I suggest you create a list of questions that are even more specific to your business and the prospects you’re attempting to sell

After you ask a question, listen carefully. Absorb every word as though your life depended on it. Becoming a good listener is vital for a salesperson; it requires great dedication and lots of hard work. If you don’t think so, why is it you can ask someone his name and a minute later you can’t recall what it is? It’s happened to all of us. Careful listening is so rare that it’s become an anachronism.

Getting your prospect to get in touch with himself is a win-win proposition, it’ll help you help him get what he wants, and isn’t that the essence of your profession?


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