What’s Your Calibrating Question?

Banksters, estate agents, used-car dealers. Now pollsters are added to the long list that charge the earth for losing you money.

During the final weeks of the Scottish neverendum, they flooded the media with poll after poll. I heard one organisation claim they were done as freebies. Mainly to promote their general services to business clients. Talk about pulling the rug from under your own feet…

When the final tally exposed them still as bad today as their 1992 nadir, they bleated about the difficulties they faced.

The main one seems to be a lack of past preference to call upon.

To adequately ‘weight’ their surveys, the one question they like to ask was (for obvious reasons) not available to them;

how did you vote last time?

Apparently it shines vital light on the solidity of the respondent stance.

Previous performance is a strong indicator of future behaviour.

And so it is in Sales. Specifically, with what buyers buy.

I have long encouraged my charges to deploy such ‘calibrating questions’.

They can be a total winner.

I gravitate towards companies that are by no means the cheapest in a marketplace.

In which case, asking a prospect what else they’ve bought lately can be a real revealer.

If all they’ve purchased is patently at the cheap end, then I know what I’m up against and reset accordingly.

Likewise, it’s not just about their commercial procurement. What of their track record of personal spending? This might be less inclined to mirror how they spend someone else’s money… Yet why did they choose their last washing machine or microwave or flat screen telly? Was it bought because it was just launched on the edge of the tech-wave or rather from the store’s bargain bucket?

In either case, with their answer your strategy becomes clearer.

This approach is not confined to which end of the price-tag scale they look to.

What about how they actually went about buying said items? Their reasoning and steps taken aren’t likely to be too dissimilar this time round. And if there is a tweak, knowing why and where it might occur can make the difference between you and the opposition.

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