When I was a little girl I asked my mom to tell me about the devil. She went into the history of evil and explained to me how the devil was tempting people to do naughty things. She was thorough and accurate.
Until I started bawling hysterically.
When she asked me what was wrong I told her that I didn’t want to be evil or trick people into doing the things that they shouldn’t do. Confused she asked why I thought that was me. Sheepishly, I pulled out a t-shirt that my grandma had gotten me that coyly says “I’m a little devil”.
Then my mom, feeling terrible, had to back-peddle and explain the difference between what the shirt meant and the doctrinally sound explanation previously given. She did a decent job but we both knew the damage couldn’t be undone. That bell couldn’t be un-rung.
How often do we assume we know where someone is coming from and just answer their question from the depth and breadth of our knowledge? How often do we seek to share our expertise rather than seek to understand their position?
When we do this we dig a hole, getting out of which may be impossible.
Sandler’s solution is to ask clarifying questions any time a prospect inquires about anything that we aren’t 100 percent certain of the reason or back-story. It takes practice. Some even say it’s manipulative.
But I suggest to you that the manipulative thing to do is to assume we know what someone needs before truly understanding from where they are coming. It’s manipulative to be so concerned with selling our product or service that we push through without taking the time to listen and gather information. It’s manipulative to be more concerned with getting a deal than getting to the truth.
So the next time you are asked a question, pause briefly to determine if you are certain why they are asking such a question. And if not, ask them a question back. You’ll be surprised at the new—and helpful—information you learn.
For more information on Sandler Training Solutions visit http://www.flywheel.sandler.com