Written by Sean McPheat |
If I had a pound for the number of times someone has asked me that question, I’d be quite a bit richer! Naturally, we answer in terms of what we actually DO, as the questioner is normally edging in that direction.
Many of us have been taught to answer with an ‘elevator speech’, a few succinct words that encapsulate our service or offering in the time it takes to travel a few floors in an elevator. If you’ve tried this, it isn’t too long before most people’s eyes glaze over and you have to wake them up from their hypnotic trance.
Most elevator speeches are as exciting as watching my grass grow, but they don’t have to be. How about something different? How about asking the person a couple of questions that will show your interest in understanding their business pains and opportunities?
This will help them see you as someone who can offer real help and value instead of simply another salesperson up against all your competition.
When someone asks me what I do, I reply with something like: “Well, I’m glad you asked. May I ask you, What would happen if you lost two of your biggest customers?” That’s a hard-hitting question that gets the customer thinking about his business while he’s looking at me.
Then I follow up with another hard-hitting question: “What’s your business plan to keep those customers loyal to you?”
I’ve got the prospect thinking again, and he’s probably stalling while he thinks of the answer.
So I carry on with a quick resumé of what we could do for him: “We are in the business of helping businesses like yours answer questions like these”
It certainly grabs attention, creates desire to know more and piques their interest in what I have to offer.
Most clients have heard elevator speeches that are too generic. Think about how your services would affect your prospect’s business and then think up two or more hard-hitting questions that would make them stop and think about themselves. Interestingly, while their conscious brain is thinking of answers, their unconscious brain is associating the answers with you, as you’re the one standing there in front of them!
So think up at least ten questions that would show your prospects you are someone worth talking to. Then add some more, so you have a toolkit of ideas in your armoury to assist you in any meeting.
Questions get your prospects thinking. Make sure they think about you.
Originally published: 24 May, 2010
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