Asking questions to speed it up when it’s slow.

Asking questions to speed it up when it’s slow.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Asking questions to speed it up when it’s slow.

Answers. Salespeople want answers. Here are a few of the answers to questions I get in the mail (fax, e, and snail). The purpose of this column is two-fold. First to give you a sampling of what people ask, and second to assure you that you’re not alone in experiencing the weirdness that everyday selling seems to breed.

Hi, Jeffrey, I read your fantastic article about networking last week and wonder what I would say to someone I don’t know at an event. Just walk up to someone I don’t know and say “Hi, I’m Cindy with Secretarial Services” but then what? Cindy
Cindy, There are a hundred questions you can ask. “Need a private secretary?” “What does your desk look like?” “How many things on your ‘to do’ list?” “How many things didn’t get done today?” “What’s your biggest project?” The secret is to ask a question about them that makes them stop and think, and answer in terms of you. Jeffrey

Dear Jeffrey, How should I set my goals in order to best achieve them? Jennifer
Jennifer, Set goals about who you want to become, not what you want to own when you get there. Set personal goals (be the best at… gain superior knowledge in… take a course in… read for 15 minutes a day about…) — rather than material goals (big house… new car…). If you set material goals, you may take shortcuts to get there — BUT — there are no shortcuts to being the best. AND when you achieve personal power, when you become “best” at anything, the big house and the new car just show up. Jeffrey

Jeffrey, How can I make that message clear without infringing on a buyers time by making a standard cold call? Mary
Mary, Send them (letter, fax, e-mail) information that helps the prospect build their business, increase their productivity, prolong employee retention, or boost their profits. If you do that, they will want to know what you do. Create a tie-in to you, and presto — an interested prospect who gets your message and is ready to listen. Jeffrey

Jeffrey, I’ve found myself in a situation where I’m unsure how to proceed – and would like your advice. I’m in the recruiting industry and in the past year we have found ourselves stuck in the gatekeeper rut. What this means is that we are not allowed to talk to managers to get feedback on our candidates. I currently have a client/gatekeeper that I’ve been working with for the past several months. My problem is she does not call me back, does not give me feedback on candidates and open positions, and I feel at this point I am having a one-sided relationship with her. I know that if I could get to the managers, I could make the sale but unfortunately if I go around the gatekeeper I risk losing the business altogether. What would you do in my situation? Cheri
Cheri, It may be you. Ever have a man chase you that you knew was wasting his time — but he kept on trying to win you over? It almost became pest-like. Find a way to make them chase you. Start thinking about a “value proposition” that creates response (like i do with my column) — perhaps your own ezine. And start thinking about how you can avoid gatekeepers completely. And realize that sometimes other people are just jerks. Once you get a “hire,” get to the manager and eliminate the gatekeeper. Jeffrey

How do you prospect? Jim
Jim, Go to a business event where your potential customers may be, bring business cards, know how you help others, shake hands and start talking. Jeffrey

Jeffrey, After 6 years of employment, I am being forced to sign a non-compete agreement. Is that legal? And how can I be an independent contractor working under a non-compete? Sherry
Sherry, It’s totally legal. Just not moral or ethical. If your boss is so paranoid that he/she is making you sign a non-compete, he is afraid they will lose you to a competitor or worse, they think you are in the process of job hopping. Most courts will uphold non-competes if the restrictions are low. The higher the restrictions (the more it prevents you from doing work and earning money), the less likely the court will find in favor of the employer. HOWEVER, future employers tend to stay away from potential litigation of non-compete. If it were me, I would tell the employer to “stuff it,” but that is only what I would do. You may not be in a financial position to take that risk or you may love your job and want to stay. Jeffrey

FREE ANSWERS FREE EZINE EVERY WEEK: Send me your sales questions, and you’ll get answers. If your question (or sales success story) is answered in print, and we select it as the best question, you get a free coffee mug from my ezine, Sales Caffeine, and some coffee. The mug says, “Coffee is for Closers.” I give real world sales answers to questions every week in my free ezine. Go to – find: Sales Help – I need Jeffrey’s help – I have a question — and ask away. Before you leave my site, subscribe to Sales Caffeine.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to