For Future Sales, Ask About the Past

DURING EVERY SALES training session, I ask salespeople to write down the questions they ask on a regular basis, whether in a first-time sales call or when renewing an established relationship.

Without fail, about 90 percent of the questions we tally are about the present. For example:

What are you currently doing?

How many are you producing?

How do you use this product/application?

What vendor are you using?

What do you like about them?

Are you the decisionmaker?

What are your biggest challenges?

What can I do for you?

Only a few questions are about the future, and rarely do I collect any ...

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