How To Cut To The Chase With Your Prospects

by Paul Castain on May 3, 2011

Did you ever feel like your appointment was turning into a game of 20 questions and you are like one question away from asking “So is it animal or mineral already dude?”

I never really understood the guessing game dynamic that many meetings take on. Our prospects are busier than ever and simply don’t have the time and yet, sometimes it feels like we’re either getting warmer or colder and guess what? With every irrelevant question, I can’t imagine that they are thinking “Gosh this is fun”

Wouldn’t it be cool if there were on question you could ask on the front end of the meeting to everyone on point without the guessing game? Well the good news is that there is!

I usually start the meeting with an agenda statement, that is, a statement that sets the game plan for our time together. I check to see if there is anything the prospect would like to add and then I simply ask this question . . .

“Granted I called you, but what prompted you to take this meeting today?”

I learned the hard way that my old question “What prompted you to take our meeting today” encouraged a response of “Well; you called me so I wanted to hear what you had to say” I found I was letting the prospect off the hook too easily and not getting something strong enough to build a line of questioning around. Adding the “Granted I called you” helped me to build a stronger foundation.

I found that by asking this simple question, I would get responses like “Well we have this project coming up and . . . “ or “We are having some challenges with . .” This enables me to spend more time on the issue instead of guessing! I still get people that say “I was curious” I can work with curious, I just like to know on the front end of the meeting.

Someone once asked if anyone seemed put off that I was jumping right to the point. I’ve never experienced a problem with this approach and I have used it in various regions of the US. Note: I can, however, tell you numerous stories of a prospect who became agitated by a rep who was asking a bunch of questions that had no relevance on their current challenges/opportunities!

One final point: We need to realize that the quality of the answers we receive increase in direct proportion to the trust we build throughout the needs analysis. Don’t be surprised if you get some very general answers to this initial question. Be prepared to dig deeper, have them expand upon their thoughts, give you examples etc.

What are your thoughts?

“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.”

James Nathan Miller

Paul Castain is a coach, a sales trainer, a speaker and all around cool dude. To learn more . . . click here!

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