Does this sound familiar?  You pick up the phone and the cold caller on the other end launches into their script telling you why their company is so great and how you need their services without ever stopping to even find out if you 1) are interested 2) have time to talk 3) have a problem that they can fix.  It’s like going to the doctor and telling him you have a little pain in your elbow and he says, “Great.  See my receptionist, she’ll schedule you for surgery.”

“Hold on a minute,” you think.  He didn’t even ask how long you’d been having the pain.   Or how about spending a minute or two to look at the elbow to see what’s potentially causing the pain.  If he had just slowed down for a minute, he might have noticed that you slipped on the ice and skinned your elbow.  Maybe there was a little bruising but it was mostly just a scrape that needed to be cleaned.

Wouldn’t you feel a little strange if he diagnosed your problem before asking pertinent questions?  Then why do sales people do that all the time?  Why don’t they slow down and first see if you even have a problem that requires their solution?  They’re so anxious to get you to sign on the dotted line and they think that sales is all about telling you why you should work with them that they often overlook the piece that’s necessary to bridge the gap.  I figure they must call on a hundred people before they reach one that actually has a relevant problem so they’re willing to engage with the sales person for a few minutes.  Every other call must just result in a hang up or worst yet, an angry prospect.  No wonder people hate cold calling so much.

So a word to all you sales people out there, try using the same diagnostic questions that your doctor would use.  Ask how long they’ve been experiencing their pain.  Find out if it’s something that’s serious or just a little annoying.  Is it something that’s important to them?  Try that and let me know what happens.  If that doesn’t work, take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

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