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Attract the Right Job Or Clientele:

We frequently ask and hear the question, ‘what do you think?’ But by and large, the question is saved for close family members and friends. 

The one question can help increase business growth and sales, but most do not dare to ask their clientele. One of the main deterrents for asking could be fear, the fear of hearing the answer.

My Story

Not much has changed in the selling environment since the earlier part of my career. The majority of salespeople are so focused on selling; they do not allow time for listening. And the one factor often kills any hope of a sale.  

I’ve always said that selling focused on talking can be abbreviated to ‘stalking.’ Coincidentally, on my second job, the sales manager mandated that we call the same prospect every day until they say, Yes. 

Naturally, I didn’t listen and did my own thing.  Sadly, many representatives were afraid to either ignore the instruction or speak up; instead, they attempted to please him. The complaints from multiple companies began pouring in, and the manager was demoted. Shortly afterward, he quit the job. Worse yet, many of those following his mandates were soon in need of seeking new work, too.

A far better approach is to be inquisitive and allow the prospective client to guide the conversation.  For example, I learned to ask the following questions:

  • What motivated you to take the time to speak with me today?
  • Are you experiencing associated issues?
  • How do you see resolving the problem?
  • A few ideas come to mind, but first, I’d like to know, what do you think about…?

Upon guiding the prospective client with questions, we take them by surprise, and they are more open about what’s on their mind. Slowly but surely, due to eliminating any pressure, the client-to-be takes everything we convey under serious consideration.

Wherever we are, and whatever we do, we will constantly be encountering other people with different backgrounds and experiences. Most people assume that someone appearing to look less successful will not add to a conversation. Judging others usually kills any possibility for moving forward.  

Simply being polite is a significant indicator of whether one will be successful. A positive word of mouth is more likely when we ask those we encounter, what do you think? We are to keep in mind always the other person’s networks and keeping our reputable personal brand intact. When the thought is with us, we more easily reach larger audiences, sell more, and grow our clientele and businesses.


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Your Story:  What Do You Think?

Are you sometimes frustrated that sales aren’t going the way you expect? It’s a normal feeling, but the more successful become accustomed to the following two responses, ‘no’ or verbiage, ‘not now.’ However, neither response is perceived as a final judgment; instead, another question presents itself.

The better response includes saying, ‘I respect your no, can you tell me your ‘why’ so that I have clarity?’

Often, the answer will have prospects relent and say, something akin to ‘next month will be better.’ And the response of ‘no’ is typically not permanent. Consider responding by asking, ‘will there be a better time for you to reconsider, or is it ‘no’ forever?’ Again, a small percentage will give you a date to revisit the matter. The differentiator is in being the unique person who provides their clientele the floor to express themselves. The appreciation that comes forward is remarkable because few have the opportunity to present their viewpoint.

In your quiet time, create a list of prospective clients’ names that you find to be a more significant disappointment upon rejecting your services or products. Next to the column of names, list the reasons why they told you, ‘no.’

Should you have blank spots on the spreadsheet, promise yourself that from now on, you will begin asking, ‘what do you think?’ Of course, use your vocabulary and phrasing, but do so with an inquiring tone, learn why they are telling you ‘no.’

Keep in mind that everyone is different, so never assume anything. Be sure to pose a similar question to everyone you meet upon hearing the rejection of an idea upfront. Collectively, the many ‘no’s with reasoning attached become your professional sales course for doing far better in the future.

Similarly, management will do well to listen to their representatives instead of knocking down their trial-and-error efforts. A good practice is to have every salesperson share what they recently learned from the negative responses at each team meeting. Again, collectively, everyone can know far more than if they work solo. The other topic is in learning how to deal with negativity in the future. Overall, the team effort is more likely to become more robust.

And when representatives offer new, and possibly seeming crazy ideas, ask them, ‘why do you think that?’

Giving everyone a chance to speak and be heard increases employee loyalty and improves the harsh reality of the costly revolving-door syndrome (hire, train, fire, re-hire). The other important reason to listen carefully to your sales representatives’ new ideas is that they are the ones closest to your clients. They know first-hand what your clientele is thinking because they ask!

Asking, ‘what do you think,’ is one sales success strategy that sales representatives should give a serious try.


Sales Tips:  What Do You Think?

  1. Commit to learning from every situation.
  2. Ask prospective clients for their insights.
  3. Compare your prospect responses after you ask for their perspective.
  4. Test which questions receive the better answers.
  5. Never argue but ask the reason for a ‘no’ so that you may improve.
  6. Share with teammates the new strategies that work best.
  7. Test another strategy that others on your team share.
  8. At a follow-up meeting, share the results of your testing.
  9. Be open to similar feedback at the next team event.
  10. Celebrate Success!


Today’s insights are provided to help you achieve the Smooth Sale!


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