Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Flipboard 0 I want to talk about what I like to call the ultimate sales question. When you’re selling or talking to clients, the first thing that you have to think about is: what problem do I solve? In most 12-step programs, step number one is realizing that you have a problem. Hopefully, your clients or potential clients realize that they have a problem. The next step that people have to take, I would like to explain with a joke. The joke is: “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?” The answer to that is: “Only one… but the light bulb has to want to change.” When you’re working with clients, there are a handful of different ways to look at what is it that they’re trying to achieve, and hopefully you can get them to the point where they realize they HAVE a problem… and you are the CHANGE (the best solution). We often tend to think that people buy what they need, which is true in a lot of cases. For example, toilet paper. Pretty simple, right? You need toilet paper. But most people buy what they want. So I NEED toilet paper but I WANT this brand because it’s softer and cleaner and better. Let’s say you stop to buy toilet paper at Walgreens but they don’t sell that brand. Well, then you have to go to Walmart or some other place to go find the brand that you want. People will often go extra lengths to get what they WANT even though they just NEED something. If they don’t have the time, they’ll just accept the simple solution. “How Can I Help?” A lot of salespeople tend to focus on what the NEED is in the marketplace when people are asking themselves, what is it that I WANT? But here is the ultimate sales question; this is what you need to ask potential clients. “How can I help you?” That’s part of the sales process. It is a relationship. It requires somebody to say that they have a problem, they’re looking for a solution, and you are the person that’s helping them getting from point A to point B to solve that problem. The next thing I want to talk about is three different concepts I use throughout this sales journey. The first one I like to call OPEN. Are they open to the process? The second one is CORE. Can you or they find the core issues? Then the third one is SMART. Is now a smart time to act? Are They OPEN In the Process? Oblivious Pondering Engaged Need Find The CORE Issue(s) Conflict – Internal or External Obvious – Clear or Hidden Issues Relationships – Internal Or Customer Based Evolution – Ready For Change? Is Now A SMART Time To Act? Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-Bound OPEN Let’s start with OPEN. This defines where they are in the sales process. I actually heard this on another podcast, the Copywriter’s Podcast with David Garfinkel and Nathan Fraser. Nathan explained it this way: Oblivious Pondering Engaged Need In the first phase, O, they’re completely oblivious to the fact that they need something. When they’re at P, are they’re pondering what they might need it now or later, or at least they’re aware of it but they’re not ready to do anything. E is engaged. They’re engaged, they’re actively looking and researching a little bit. N stands for need. I need it now. His example that was given is aspirin. I don’t have a headache, or I have a headache. If I have a headache, get me a bottle of aspirin. It’s pretty straightforward. That’s open. Where are they in the process? Obviously, people that need things are much more motivated. CORE Now let’s look at the CORE issues: Conflict – Internal or External Obvious – Clear or Hidden Issues Relationships – Internal Or Customer Based Evolution – Ready For Change? Number one, have they identified the conflict? Is it an external or internal conflict? What’s the problem and how is it being caused? Is it internal influences or external influences? Do they understand that? The second part is, is it obvious? Is it super clear as to what’s causing that conflict, or is it hidden issues that maybe are underlying and nobody has seen? Sometimes you’re too close to the forest to see the trees. The next part is relationships. Is there a relational issue with people internally or is there a relational issue with their customers? What is it that they’re trying to solve and how do they create the kind of relationships that help them solve their problem? Then E is evolution. Are they ready for change? That’s one of the most important things. If they’re not ready to make that change, the light bulb is going to stay burnt out. SMART The last part of this equation is smart. Is now a smart time to act? Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-Bound First and foremost, is there a specific thing that they’re looking to achieve? Are they clear? Are they open to the process? Have they identified the core issues? Next, is it something that’s measurable? Can they measure a result on it or is it just an esoteric thing? Number three, is it achievable? Is it possible for them to do this? A lot of times, they may or may not know if it is. Somebody just says, “I want to sell more of this thing,” but if their audience is not buying, you’ve got to find out why. Maybe there’s an objection that just cannot be overcome, so is it really achievable? The next one is relevance. Is it a relevant time to do this? Does it make sense to do it now because there’s an objective that has to be met in the future? T is for time-bound, which means is there a specific amount of time that can be measured that it’s going to take to get this done. In the case of a lot of my coaching clients, I always tell them it takes a minimum of three months, a lot of times six months, and it could take up to a year. It depends on how complex, how open they are to change in this process. What are the core issues and what do we have to overcome? Sometimes those core issues are so big they take longer than three months. Is it a smart time to do it? Yes, but if they have a deadline of two months and it’s going to take three, no, it’s not a smart time. Final Thoughts Let me leave you with a handful of final thoughts. The first one is, do they understand the difference between expense and investment? Is this something that they are willing to do that they can see a measurable return on investment? More importantly, can you show them and convince them that there will be a measurable return? Obviously, the big one that we’ve talked about is there has to be a need or a want to make a change. If they’re just exploring and they’re not ready to do it, then now is not the time to get started. The final thing is, what emotional factors are driving this choice to make a difference in their business? Can you identify are they open, can you find the core, and is now a smart time to ask? Ask yourself those questions first and then ask them. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share? Twitter Tweet Facebook Share Email This article originally appeared on B2B Interactive Marketing Inc. and has been republished with permission.Find out how to syndicate your content with B2C Author: Kane Pepi Kane Pepi is an experienced financial and cryptocurrency writer with over 2,000+ published articles, guides, and market insights in the public domain. Expert niche subjects include asset valuation and analysis, portfolio management, and the prevention of financial crime. Kane is particularly skilled in explaining complex financial topics in a user-friendlyView full profile ›More by this author:VoIP Basics: Everything Beginners Should Know!Bitcoin Investment, Trading & Mining: The Ultimate Guide for BeginnersIs This a Better Way to Set Your 2020 Goals and Resolutions?