From Tom Reilly

Selling is more about solving and serving than providing products to prospects. There are three important questions that salespeople can ask to help customers. In Value-Added Selling, these are called Projective Questions.

  • What would you like to be able to do tomorrow that you cannot do today?

This question focuses customers on possibilities. It taps into their dreams for a better way to work and live. It is pregnant with hope. Everyone enjoys dreaming. It directs their attention to the future. It implies tomorrow’s solution to today’s problems.

  • What would you like us to do for you that others are not doing?

This question spotlights the gap between where customers would like to be and how their current solution fails to perform. This failure-to-perform is a source of dissatisfaction for customers, and dissatisfaction is a powerful motivator.

  • If we can help you achieve this (i.e. bridge the gap between where the customer wants to be and how their current solution fails to perform) what impact would this have on you or your business?

This is the reason people change. This is the motivation to act. Understanding the impact of a new and better way to solve their problems helps buyers make the decision to move forward.

When salespeople encourage buyers to dream, evaluate how their current solution fails to satisfy those dreams, and understand the impact of moving forward with a better solution, buyers are likely to act on this insight. This results in a solution for the customer and a sale for the salesperson.

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill).