Imagine going to a doctor you haven’t met previously with a problem like lower back pain. The minute you walk into the doctor’s office and voice your problem she – without asking a single question about your condition – hands you a pre-written prescription and says, “take two of these pills three times a day and your back problems are solved!” How much confidence in this doctor and the prescribed remedy would you have? Probably very little or none at all!
At any doctor’s appointment you would naturally expect that the doctor asks you increasingly focused and probing diagnostic question about your condition – and probably sends you to have some lab tests taken if necessary – before starting to write a prescription or recommending a solution to your health problem.
The same goes for your customers coming to you with a problem they need to solve in their company. In their eyes you – as a seller – are a potential “healer” of their business problem. Now how do you think your customer would feel if you, straight away after commencing you meeting, were to dive into presenting a solution to a problem you have no intimate knowledge about? You even haven’t asked the necessary diagnostic questions to uncover the actual problem or problems!
Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? But this is exactly the way thousands of salespeople behave every single day. They start presenting their company’s products and offering a solution to what they hope is the customer’s problem – without taking the time to ask the appropriate diagnostic questions.
Mind you – the solution the salesperson is offering might be exactly what is needed to solve the customers business problem. But since most people detest unsolicited advice, is the customer going to believe or trust you on this?
Do you think your customer would trust you and the proposed solution more, if you as a seller had taken the time to ask diagnostic questions and arrive to the solution together with your customer?