Getting to the question

In sales, one of the most difficult things for sales people to do is get to the question.

If you are a pastor, insurance salesman, under-writer, corporate executive, home builder or you work at Walmart, there is question that must be asked. The question is “how can I help you?” which really means “do you want to buy it?”

We sell hotels and every transaction happens because after all the presentations are done, someone asked “how can I help you?”

When I think of this, I think of when I was playing football in High School. We were playing Griffin High school at their home stadium and the stands were full and people were cheering. They had this little tailback named Frunie Mathews and he was hands down, the fastest running back we had played against. 19 seconds before the half, we punted to Griffin and Frunie got the ball. He didn’t score but we couldn’t catch him either. He just ran and juked all over the field and refused to be brought down. The 19 seconds on the clock ran out and he was still running (as I remember) for what seemed like a good minute or two. He finally slipped down and was so tried he just stayed down. He didn’t score but it was not because of our tremendous defense. He just got tired and fell.

I think of this story in terms of selling and many people in all walks of life can get lost talking about an issue and never bring it to a point. There is always a point you need to make and if you don’t ever get there, it is like the clock just runs out and no one wins.

I had this salesman some years ago and he was one of the best educated, professional and articulate salesman I had ever met. The problem was he could never get to the question. Sure, he impressed everyone with his knowledge but he never made the sale. At some point in every sales pitch you must ask the buyer if they want to buy it. If you are a pastor, trust me, you are a salesman whether you think you are or not and the reality is, we are all salespeople regardless of what it is we do. We are selling ourselves, our opinions, our thoughts and our influence.

So, the next time you are making a sales pitch or leading a group or doing a presentation, remember Frunie Mathews and be sure to get to the point and ask the question. KT

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