When in doubt… ask a question.

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

The most powerful tool a salesperson possesses is a question.

Sure, enthusiasm and creativity will get you pretty far.  Some people can sell ice to Eskimos with an amazing personality, trustworthiness and gregariousness.  But the rest of us may not have the 1-in-a-million-tony-robbins-charisma that makes selling oh-so-easy.  The rest of us need to rely on the basics.

And you just can’t get any more basic than this:

  • The purpose of asking questions is to find “pain”.
  • You can’t sell anything to anyone who doesn’t have some sort of pain.
  • So… Ask questions.
  • Then…  Ask more questions.
  • Even when you don’t know what else to do… ask yet another question.
  • And, here’s the best one….   When your client or prospect asks you a question, you should ask a question right back! For example, your client may ask, “How big is your firm?”  And you should reply, “That’s a great question Mr./Ms. Prospect… why do you ask?”

Let’s face it, you don’t know why they asked that question.  What are they trying to learn?  How can your answer help move them further through the buying process?  What if they wanted to know how many employees you had? What if they were wondering how many locations you had?  Are they nearby?  Do you have so many employees that they’d get lost in the shuffle?  Do you have too few that you could not possibly support their needs?

There’s only one way to determine the right way to answer their question.  And that’s… you guessed it… with a question!

So let’s do it again.  You say, “That’s a great question Mr./Ms. Prospect… why do you ask?”  And he/she replies, “Because our last vendor had way too few customer service reps on our account.  We couldn’t get through to them.  Response times were terrible!”

Ahh!!!  Now you found the pain and can talk about your firm’s features and benefits that fit in a way that solves the problem and relieves the pain.

Understood?  I figured I’d end this post with a question.    🙂

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