Back to Basic Selling: The Devil You Know…

Posted on by in Reading Between the Lines

“Help your prospect realize some problems they are having with their current supplier.”

Back to Basic Selling by Robert F. Taylor, page 72

Have you ever heard yourself tell a store clerk, “I’m just looking” when asked if they could be of assistance? I am sure you have, since this seems to be a knee-jerk response to their question, even if you indeed could use a little help.

The same exchange is common when you are offering guidance to a prospective new client. When you ask them if you can help them plan and organize their next vacation, you are familiar with the automatic response, “We are happy with our current travel agent,” or “We enjoy booking our travel ourselves.”

Now comes a difficult decision: What do you say next? You surely don’t want to come across sounding pushy, arrogant, or aggressive. But you also know that their knee-jerk response has a few holes in it.

Click on the book to grab your own copy of "Back to Basic Selling".

Click on the book to grab your own copy of “Back to Basic Selling”.

One strategy that comes with the least resistance may look something like this:

Begin by asking your prospect for permission to ask a few questions. Then, with nothing but interest in mind, ask them what services they expect from their current supplier. You might have to give them a few examples to put them at ease. Once they share a few of their demands with you, follow by asking them if these expectations are being met 100%.

In most cases, prospects have not found the time to question their current satisfaction level and have come to adopt the path that endorses the belief that “the devil you know is better than the devil don’t know.”

After listening to the responses from these two questions, it’s time to ask the prospect a third question. “Would you mind if I sent you a short proposal focusing on your demands and expectations while explaining how we address these concerns to your total satisfaction?”

By this time, you will know if you have uncovered a real opportunity, or that you are barking up the wrong tree.

Here are the three questions again in review:

1. What are your expectations?
2. Are they being met 100% by your current supplier?
3. May I send you our solution–oriented customer satisfaction plan?


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