Ask the Question By Mike Pallin

Trees fall down in the forest every day and nobody hears a thing. Philosophers ask, “If there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

(By the way, the answer is YES.)

Philosophers must have a lot of idle time on their hands. That has to be one of the most irrelevant questions ever asked. But I guess that’s what philosophy is all about.

What do trees and philosophy have to do with selling?

Nothing, actually. But this discussion opens the door to an important question.

If a salesperson has a conversation with a potential prospect and doesn’t ask a qualifying question, does the conversation matter?

That would be a resounding NO.

In his Speakers’ Academy, Hall of Fame Speaker Floyd Wickman teaches that conversation without an objective is just noise. He ought to know, with over 3,700 successful speaking engagements under his belt, he is a MASTER communicator. So, it bears repeating. Conversation without an objective is just noise.

Let’s apply this principle to selling, and let’s use selling real estate as our example:

Q: Do you have a dentist?

When I ask this question in Session One of The Floyd Wickman Program, almost everyone (except the toothless people) answer, “Yes.”

Then I ask, “Does your dentist have a Realtor?”

Most of the time the answer is, “I don’t know.”

I say, “Why not?”

They say, “I never asked.”

Make a note of this. “Who is your Realtor?” And now think of the number of times a day you are engaged in a conversation where that question can be asked.

If you think about it, it’s a lot of times a day, isn’t it?

In selling, we are in the business of building relationships that lead to repeat and referral business. Those relationships begin with a qualifying question,“Who is your Realtor?”

That’s only four words. If four words are too many to remember, shorten it to three, “Who’s your Realtor?”

Here’s the scenario. You have a dentist appointment. First thing they do is put you in the chair and before clipping the bib around your neck, the dentist notices your name badge (which you, of course, wear whenever you are out in public, don’t you?) and says, “Oh, I see you are in real estate.”

That is called an opening.

You say, “Yes, I am. And who is your Realtor?”

There are only three possible answers.

One is, “Oh, Floyd Wickman is my Realtor. We love Floyd. He did a great job selling our house. We refer all of our friends and family to Floyd. Do you know him?”

But really, how likely is that? It’s not very likely, is it?

You are more likely to hear either, “Uh, let me think, what was her name?” or, “Uh, I guess I don’t have one.”

Now before your dentist starts sticking sharp metal objects into your mouth, you have the opening to say, “Well, Doc, you may not need me now, but if something were to happen that could affect the value of your home, would you like me to keep you informed?”

Dentist says, “Well, yeah, of course.”

Voila! You now have permission to keep in touch, to build a relationship, to earn referrals. You know what to do from here. Keep in touch. Build a relationship. Earn referrals.

If you are in work mode, and for most of us in selling that is most of the time, and you are having a conversation with someone, remember to ask a qualifying question.

“Who’s your Realtor?”

“Who’s your loan officer?”

“Who does your title work?”

“Who’s your sales trainer?”

Qualifying questions turn meaningless conversations into meaningful conversations.

Timber!

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