Ask Deeper Questions To Unearth Treasures in Your Customer’s Business

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Businessman holding question markThere was a report in our local paper about a husband and wife who had lived in their house for over 30 years.

The husband was definitely not a gardener, and hadn’t done anything of any significance to his garden for all the time they had lived there. If he had done any work in the garden at all, it was purely superficial. He certainly hadn’t dug down any further than a few inches below the surface.

One day, the husband and wife decided they wanted the garden re-landscaped. He called in a firm to do it for him. On the first day of work, the foreman of the landscaping team approached the husband and showed him some coins he had dug up. They looked very old.

The husband immediately took the coins to the local museum and they turned out to be medieval, and worth a great deal of money.

How deep did the foreman have to dig before they unearthed the coins? No more than nine inches!

The husband was interviewed afterwards and asked how he felt about having such a find so close. He said, “If only I had been a keen gardener, I would probably have found them many years ago, because I would have dug deeper!”

It set me thinking about how many salespeople fail to uncover riches that exist in their current customer base, simply because they don’t dig deeper with their questioning to find out more about their customers’  businesses.

Questions are the life-blood of your communications. They uncover many rich gems of information that would otherwise be left hidden away. They create opportunities that others could take advantage of. What would happen if a competitor came along and uncovered those opportunities, simply by asking your customer deeper questions? Build on the answers your customers have given you so you can find specific areas of concern that your customer hadn’t unearthed before.

Are you aware of how much business may be hidden just below the surface in your customers’ business? Take some of the situations your customer is currently involved in and dig deeper to ascertain if there’s more hidden gems there. That way, you help your customer (and yourself) achieve more business. And you won’t need to say, like that reluctant gardener, if only I had dug deeper years ago!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling

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Originally published: 14 January, 2011