Reconnaissance Questions

I encountered an irritating reminder of just how difficult it can be to shake off misleading advice when it’s been hard-wired since early training in my fresh-faced selling days.

It struck me as though the way selling was taught in the late 80s and early 90s, you should always be testing buyer commitment. Don’t be afraid to ask the tricky question.  Close early, close often.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  I think you get the picture.

The idea is that objections are good things, a positive buying signal almost, so don’t be afraid to run into them.  Indeed, why not encourage them.  So if your close is not (yet) accepted, then well done for uncovering the obstacle and now simply handle it with aplomb.

Yet a recent personal experience reveals this as flawed logic.  It all stemmed from the straightforward (and not uncommon) request for someone to alter a date.

When the not unreasonable poser of ‘can we change the date to…’ was not met with the agreement expected, objections arose, the conversational flow was disrupted and a slight sense of unease descended.

In an instant I realised my mistake.  Why oh why had I not thought to see how the land lay first?  Where was my testing of the waters?  What was I doing being so assumptive in this case?  Better approaches immediately sprang to mind:

How flexible is that date?

Which other slots could also work?

What alternative times might suit you?

Hindsight.  What a killer.

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