“The problem with schooling is that we are taught to answer questions - not ask them.” I once read this somewhere. And yet the Bible instructs, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.”
Regrettably, questions are an ignored, yet indispensable, tool of trade in selling. Questions yield answers; intelligent questions yield revelation.
Self-interrogation and exploratory (to understand buyer better) questions, are intelligent questions. Let’s look at three self-interrogation ones.
Why should they buy?
The secretary to the charity inspired group proudly announces at the meeting, “We will just write to (insert blue chip company name here) asking for donations for the funds drive.”
The (naïve) thinking here is that, ‘with their current advertising blitz, they have money and being charity, they’ll give’.
They don’t. And someone admonishes, “They make so much money and yet cannot even donate to this cause.” Why don’t they buy? Same reason you don’t donate to every beggar, nor harambee, that comes your way.
Before a sale, commercial or charity, ask yourself the question, “Why should they buy?” If you cannot frame a response to the buyer’s business or personal advantage, don’t bother pitching until you can.
The sale won’t fly. A corollary to the question ‘why should they buy?’ is ‘what’s in it for them?’
Asking yourself, ‘so what?’ forces you to find points of convergence between the buyer’s need and your product’s solution- if at all any exists. And why, “So what?”? Because, that’s exactly what the buyer is asking himself when you rattle on about how you have ten years experience (So what?); how companies J,K, L and M are your clients (So what?) and how the centre-withdrawal coriolus pipe is unique to your plant…So what?
So, based on the water requirements in your 100 apartments and borrowing from our extensive experience working with similar establishments, on average you will require 10,000 litres of water readily available at any one time if your guests are to enjoy their stay.” Much better? I think so. A less provocative corollary to So what?, is ‘Why do they need it?’
Why am I selling this?
“Innovation is not just another app.” This is what Central Bank Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge told banks with the capping of interest rates; he wanted them to think differently.
Just as any seller should. Google Play Store is flooded with thousands of apps that will never see the light of day. Some maybe because of zero marketing intervention, but many others were designed because the developer simply fell in love with his app.
And love is blind. Blind to the fact that no one needs the product; not even you the developer.
Blind to the fact that simply because the buyer said that they want you to come pitch your iPad, or, the in-house training said the product is a first in the market, doesn’t exempt you from asking the question, “why am I selling this?” Corollary questions: What problem does it solve? Is there a need for this product?