The power of engagement, and the reality of marriage.
“Will you marry me?” is a powerful engagement question. Engagement with the customer is no different.
The purpose of “engagement” in sales is to involve a prospect in a way that he or she is interested enough to think about you in a positive way, trust you, want to buy from you, and engage in some form of relationship. Engagement is achieved through questions. Everyone is familiar with the ultimate engagement question: “Will you marry me?” Positive response to this question commits the buyer. Big time.
Your initial approach to the relationship determines if you will ever get a chance to pop-the-question. If your initial approach is phony (example of social phony: Don’t I know you from someplace?” or “What’s a pretty little thing like you doing here?” Example of business phony: “Are you interested in saving some money?” Or “What would it take to get your business?”), you are dead before you start. The prospect is thinking “NO” from the first five seconds.
The prospect may be polite on the outside, but they have checked you off mentally, and will say anything to get rid of you, and never call you back. Sound familiar?
THE SITUATION: Courting the relationship has before, during and after steps – some are diversions, some are delays, some are obstacles, some are wonderful, some are bad – all are choices you make, some are prospect reactions to your words and deeds.
THE GAME PLAN: The assumptive (self confident) approach works the best: be attractive, polished, approachable, humble, well mannered, and PREPARED. Make people want to know you, want to talk to you, want to be approached by you, want to be engaged by you. Assume it’s yours and you’ll get it more often.
THE OBJECT: Is to gain interest with a question of engagement. “Will you marry me?” is a question that will engage you in more ways than one. First it is an emotional question. Second it’s a thought provoking question. Third it’s a question about YOU that makes you answer in terms of ME. In short, an engagement question.
To sell life insurance or investments: How much money will it take you to retire? How much of that do you have now?
To sell long distance telephone services: How is your present carrier teaching you to use your phone in a more productive manner?
To sell temporary employment services: When your receptionist calls in sick on Monday, how do you ensure that there is great morale, full productivity, and no loss of service to your customers?
To sell accounting services: If you were paying 20% more in taxes than you had to, how would you know it?
Those are questions of engagement.
Questions you ask about the other person that makes them stop and think, and answer in terms of you.
Questions to uncover wants, needs and desires.
Questions to uncover real feelings.
Questions to reveal dreams.
Questions that uncover problems, past experiences.
Questions that boost ego and make the other person feel good or proud.
Questions that uncover truths or motives.
Questions that gain commitment.
Questions to help you better understand them and their situation.
Questions that get a response beyond a simple “yes” or “no.”
If you are asking someone out on a date, asking to borrow a cup of sugar, asking for the sale, or asking for a hand in marriage, the key word is ASKING. And the WAY you ask can be the difference between good response and bad response, smart response and dumb response, yes response and no response.
You choose who to question and you choose what you put in your questions. That will often (not always) determine the answer. There’s an old sales adage that says, “If you’re not prepared for the answer, don’t ask the question.” There’s another one that says, “If you ask, they buy, if you tell, they avoid.”
In sales you become known by the questions you ask. If you ask smart questions, they think you’re smart. If you ask dumb questions.
Want a few real smart questions? Well, since everyone sells something different, I’ll give you the lead-ins to the questions, and you adapt it to whatever you sell. Fair enough? Go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time user — and enter the words SMART QUESTIONS in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and The Little Red Book of Selling. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112