It’s not what you say. It’s what you ask.

When Matt returned to the table with fresh coffees, Joe tore the top page from his notepad and handed it to him. Matt saw a few simple notes arranged in two columns.

Joe sipped his coffee until Matt looked up from the page, as if to say, “Well…?”

“Whenever a professional salesperson engages with a prospect,” Joe began, “the salesperson has two fundamental decisions to make: what to sell and how to sell it. You’d think the first decision—what to sell—would be obvious, wouldn’t you?”

Matt nodded warily. “You sell your company’s products or services—whatever it makes or does,” he said. “Of course,” he added quickly, “you have to find out which of your products and services the customer is likely to buy.” I think I got that one right, he thought.

“Think about the Commitment Objectives we discussed,” Joe said. “Sometimes we sell a product, but other times we sell an appointment or a meeting, don’t we?”

Act 3 Questions:

  • What to sell
  • How to sell

Damn! Matt thought. Missed another one! He considered the question. Finally he took a long sip of coffee, smiled, and leaned back in his chair. “I didn’t think about appointments as products, but I sell them all the time. I don’t believe I’ve ever uncovered needs for an appointment, though. I’m focused on uncovering needs for my product. What would Action Selling say about that…?”

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).