Average Number Of Questions

I heard an ad on the radio. South African insurance firm Santam included this intriguing line in their 30-second slot.

the average number of questions someone asks when buying a car is eleven

Then a day or two later, I heard another. In what was clearly a series. All aimed at the kinds of things they insure. The theme seemed to be ‘if you ask this many questions on the items bought, why not ask as many on the insurance to protect them’.

the average number of questions someone asks when buying a home entertainment system is sixteen

Can these really be true?

If it is, then what are they?

Moving on, how many questions are usually asked by prospects on my deals? Or yours?

I bet most salespeople think in these terms…. How many this? How long is that?

Bits and bytes. Speeds and feeds.

Instead, the winners think like this.

Can you fix my problem? How do you remove the risk? Where do you hold my hand?

That kind of stuff. These kinds of questions trump the rest. It’s not simply the distinction between senior execs that ask why as opposed to juniors at the coal face that insist on the how it will be done.

If the latter category aren’t being asked of you on your bids, you’re not going to win any.

I sense one key to solution selling success is in persuading prospects that these are the core and critical themes they must consider.

Perhaps an interesting exercise would be to ask a few of your customers what they thought the most pertinent questions they asked were during their evaluation. End up with 11 (or 16) – all of which the answers to set you apart – and you can craft a neat presentation slide out of it.


As an aside, here’s six minutes of 70s anti-apartheid satire from normally more slapstick The Goodies. It’s prominently returned when your youtube search features the words ‘south african advert’… plus ça change..?

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