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Use Probing Questions to Find Client Dissatisfaction

Strategy: Use identification of client problems and controlling questions to uncover hidden desires.

Sooner or later, every salesperson comes across a client who seems to have no apparent need for his/her product or service. In the majority of cases, it is not that the client does not have the need, but that they have forgotten about the need. They are simply unresponsive. (Usually a defense mechanism to avoid being sold.) Or, perhaps the client believes they are happy with an existing product.

Your responsibility in this situation is to help the client remember his/her problems: to create some level of dissatisfaction and uneasiness, or to use specific wounding questions to hurt them. It is ok. You will help them later.

The strategy is looking for common problems that you know your product can address, and then pointing them out to people through questions. It is important in the process to ask if they want to solve the problem. This is the reason for the controlling question, rather than pointing out the benefits. You need for them to confirm they want to change that situation.

For example, below you can see how a cable television salesperson may approach an unresponsive client. They anticipate a problem, a need, and wound them to get the ball rolling.

  • Wounding Question: Do you like all the commercials on TV nowadays? (Most people do not.)
  • Benefit or Desire I can address: Does not like commercials.
  • Controlling Question: If we were able to offer you service without (or with limited) 
commercials, would that be of interest to you?
  • Benefit or Desire I can address: One of the features of pay TV is no commercials!
  • Wounding Question: Don’t you hate to go to the video store and they do not have the movie you wanted?
  • Benefit or Desire I can address: Dislikes missing out, travel, or frustration.
  • Controlling Question: Would you like to ensure you get to see the movie you want, 
without travel?
  • Benefit or Desire I can address: One of the features of pay TV is that everyone has immediate access.

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