Sales 101 – Understanding


When you have a well qualified prospect you need work on getting a deep understanding.

When you have a well qualified prospect you need work on getting a deep understanding of them before you pitch.

I never make a presentation unless I am 100% convinced that buying from me is the right thing for the prospect to do. I need to be sure because after my presentation I will move into the close and this requires me to be certain.

To get a deep understanding you need to ask great questions, I have three rules for good sales question:

  • Only ask relevant questions
  • Always use open questions
  • Never ask compound questions.

Relevant questions are question that are connected to features and benefits of your solution. To create these questions we came up with the “question generator”.

Feature Benefit Sales question
Business Model Canvas – customer segment Identify the best market segment What do you use to help identify the market segment to target?
Business Model Canvas – value proposition Develop powerful marketing messages How useful would it be to have a way to develop powerful marketing messages?


The question generator forces you to back to basics and helps build product knowledge; look at all the features of your solution and think of all the benefits. Then craft great sales question for each benefit and put them into groups.

The questions groups I use are called the five Ps:

  • People
  • Product
  • Promotion
  • Plans
  • Performance.

So, the questions above would go into promotion.

Open questions cannot be answered “yes” or “no” so they usually start who, how, why, what and when.

Compound question have two questions is one. For example, what bookkeeping system do you use and how do you set budgets?  This is not the best way to get information from the prospect because it’s not focused.

When you ask good questions you will initially elicit surface level answers. But, to sell we need to go into the deep structure and eventually ask questions around the prospects emotions.

So, it’s crucial you ask questions which get the prospect to explore their answers at a deeper level. These are called “Implication” questions.

Here are some examples of implication questions:

  • What would that give you?
  • What would that do for you?
  • What would be the implication of that be?
  • What affect could that have?
  • What would that mean for the business?
  • How would that impact you on a personal level?
  • How would you feel about that?

So, by asking good questions and exploring the implications you can literally take prospect on a journey and allow them to experience the value of working with you.

This is key because the prospects needs to be able to compare the value you have with the price so they can decide to work with you.

This explains why who you work for is more important that what you do. If I work with people who only want a part-time business making a modest amount of money my value is negligible.

There is nothing wrong with a part time business making a modest about of money, it’s just not right for me and not part of my business model.

Image from Flickr by Robert Brook.


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