This week’s article is a comprehensive version of the post that appeared in my Blog on Sunday evening.

My wife and I are very excited about the new school that we would like our five-year old son to attend next year. When we asked him if he was excited he said, “Yeah, I’ll have my own stapler!”

Who would  have guessed it would come to staplers?  We thought it might be the library, teachers, campus, new friends, new subjects or the science lab. But staplers?

Lesson: We can assume that we know why people will want what we have, but unless we take the time to ask the right questions and learn what their compelling reasons are, we have a great chance of being wrong.

Most salespeople don’t know two important things; 1) what are all of the possible compelling reasons our prospects might have for choosing to do business with us (read the chapter on Getting to 2nd Base in Baseline Selling), and 2) they don’t know the best questions to ask, when and how to ask them, in order to expose their prospects’ compelling reasons (also in the chapter on Getting to 2nd Base).

Consequence: If we’re wrong about the compelling reasons, we’ll be wrong about the solution to present.  If our son is thinking staplers and we start reinforcing what we think his compelling reason is, take the library for instance, then how does he react when we continue to speak about the library and all he wants to hear about are staplers?  Let’s assume your prospect is most concerned with how you will hold their hand through the process and all you talk about is the product you’ll provide. How comfortable and confident do you think your prospect would be about your ability to satisfy him or her?  And don’t assume that the prospect will just blurt out, “what about the hand holding?”  It won’t happen!

Action: Make sure you fully understand how to ask the right questions to get at compelling reasons. Take the complete list of compelling reasons and write out open ended questions that would get a prospect to identify that particular compelling reason if they do indeed have it.