Gaining the competitive edge: don’t assume you know what your prospect wants

 Geoff Alexander reminds us that we never know exactly what our prospect wants, or thinks, unless we ask through an “open” question, or the prospect volunteers the information first. We’re never as smart as the prospect, as much as we try to be. In his telesales training courses, he discusses the concept of being “intelligently ignorant”, which means that you want to ask a lot of questions, even if you think you know all the answers.

As much as some people seem to be telling us, there aren’t all that many “one size fits all” sales situations, whether it’s soup, cars, or development tools. You owe your prospect your best quality solution, and the way you diagnose it is by asking good open questions prior to making recommendations. Focusing on asking your prospect about his or her priorities should be your priority. So be “intelligently ignorant”, assume nothing, and add open questions to your Best Practices playbook.