My brother-in-law was asking me about how difficult it is to train salespeople on the execution of Baseline Selling compared with other selling methodologies. I explained that everyone gets the hang of this process very quickly because it’s so easy to relate with getting to 1st, getting to 2nd, getting to 3rd, running home and scoring. I also explained that as simple as that concept is and as easy as it is for salespeople to get it, the most difficult part of that process is getting from 1st to 2nd base.

He asked why getting to 2nd base was so difficult and I explained that it involves asking a lot of questions and salespeople aren’t very comfortable asking questions. I went on to explain that salespeople will usually do what they’re most comfortable doing, which means, talking about their products and services instead of asking questions. He found that hard to believe.

So on your next sales call, on your way to 2nd base, let’s make an attempt to ask the questions instead of talking about you, the company or your product offerings. In this first example, I’ll share some dialog that is typical of a prospect who does not want to share and how you can get them to share:

YOU: I’m curious. Why were you interested in meeting with me today?
PROSPECT: Just interested in hearing about what you have.

YOU: And I’d like to share what I know with you but I’d very much like to put it in context. Why were you interested?
PROSPECT: Well, we’ve heard some good things about your company and what you do.

YOU: Thank you. Those good things you heard wouldn’t cause you to schedule time to meet with me unless there was an issue you were hoping to address. Could you share that with me?
PROSPECT: Well we’ve been having some trouble with our schmoodidler.

YOU: What kind of trouble?
PROSPECT: It stopped working.

YOU: How long ago?
PROSPECT: About a month ago?

At this point you know the problem but not the extent of the problem, the impact of the problem, the emotional reaction to the problem or the cost of the problem. Also at this point, you’ll find that your prospect will cooperate and answer your questions which should include:

Do you have a back up?
Does that back up work effectively?
How much do you depend on the schmoodidler?
How has the loss of your schmoodidler impacted your business?
Has it caused any down time?
How much?
Has it caused any shipments to be late?
Has that upset any of your customers?
Have you lost any business as a result?
How much would you guess?
Between down time and lost business how much would you guess the schmoodidler break down has cost?
Is that a lot of money?
Since it’s been down a month already, haven’t you called anyone else to solve the problem?
What did they say?
Why didn’t you do business with them?
What happens if you don’t solve this problem?

Get the hang of it? Now take the questions I just gave you and make them work for your product or service. Not sure if you got them right? Send me an email, tell me what you sell, the problems you solve and I’ll let you know if you got it right. It might take me a while to get back to you but I will.