The 7 Question Sales Process

It's funny...I learned more about sales from studying marketing and copywriting than I ever learned while actually working as a salesman.

( this includes reading all the sales books, watching videos from the guru's, and training from my various jobs).

Marketing teaches you to think in terms of the customers get inside their head so that you know them better than they know themselves.

I will teach you the 7 questions that will lead to you closing more sales than you could ever imagine.

First of all let's talk about direct response marketing for a minute.

As I alluded to earlier, it involves a deep understanding of your target customer.

Step one is to know what makes them tick.

This includes:

  • What keeps your target AWAKE at night?
  • What are they AFRAID of? (Top 5 fears listed in order)
  • What causes them PAIN?
  • What HUMILIATES them?
  • What makes them ANGRY?
  • What are they FURIOUS with?
  • What do they WORRY about?
  • What are their VALUES like?
  • What’s their most URGENT, “hot button” crisis right now?
  • What/Who are their ENEMIES?
  • What INCOME bracket are they in?
  • What are their POLITICAL views?
  • What 3 things FRUSTRATE them most each day?
  • What do they WANT more than anything?
  • Who exactly are the MAIN buyers of this product?
  • Who wears the PANTS in the family when it comes to making buying decisions?
  • How OLD is your customer/client?
  • What GENDER is your customer/client?
  • What do they do for WORK?
  • What’s their EDUCATION level?
  • Are they in DEBT? How much?
  • What do they feel GUILTY about?
  • Where are they LOCATED?
  • Do they OWN a home or rent?
  • What are the biggest MISTAKES these prospects are making that your product/coaching can help them stop making?
  • What do they CRAVE?

The classic phrase in marketing is that you want to "enter the conversation already going on in their heads", this is also known as the Collier Principle.

The purpose of doing this is to get a glimpse into their internal world.

Traditional advertising aka image advertising or brand building is kinda like firing a shotgun and hoping you hit something. Direct response is like using a high powered sniper rifle.

If you can pinpoint their exact pains, exact frustrations, desires, etc- your message will seem to speak right to them.

So how does this apply to in person sales you ask?

Well it all comes down to the questions you ask, and the specific order you ask them in!  ( When you do this right, they will practically sell themselves)

How can you figure out the frustrations and desires of your customers when they are standing in front of you?

It all comes down to these 7 questions:

Who, What, Where, When, Why, How, and What If.

To make my point, let's say you are selling weight loss products or services. Your prospect is in front of you right now, just dying to be sold.

Here's the wrong way to go about selling.

You: Hi, you should buy my services. You will lose a lot of weight and will look great in time for summer! Imagine, walking down the beach and having everyone stare at your rippling muscles...If you act RIGHT NOW, I can offer you 5 training sessions for only $49.99 each. So why don't we go ahead and do it?

Prospect: Uhh, I don't know, that sounds like a lot of money. Can you give me time to think about it?

You: Uhh, ok...bye forever

This is the majority of sales presentations you see now.

The salesmen simply goes ahead and pitches his product without getting any information from the prospect. They aren't treated like real people, just another number.

Simply pitching right from the start without any probing questions or qualifying, is why most peoples closing ratios are 1 in 10, 1 in 15, or worse.

It's one  of the reasons why you see so many damn sales books written. It's stupid. Stop doing it.

Here's a better way to go about it.

You: Hey I'm Ben, who are you?

Prospect: Hey I'm James, I'm here because I want to get in shape.

You: Ok great nice to meet you James. Before we talk about my service, I'd like to ask you a few questions to see if I can help you, is that okay?

Prospect: Yes that's fine.

You: So tell me what exactly are your goals? What would be the ideal result look like?

Prospect: Well, I would like to lose weight, at least 15 pounds before summer starts you know?

You: Why is it important for you to lose the 15 pounds before summer?

Prospect: Well, It would just make me feel more confident in my body, people would feel attracted to me.

You: So you don't feel confident right now? How would being more confident affect your life?

Prospect: If I was in better shape and more confident, I could finally find a girlfriend, and I wouldn't feel lonely.

You: So you have been feeling lonely, when did this feeling start?

Prospect: It's been at least 2 years now, ever since my last girlfriend left I have been eating unhealthy and feeling terrible.

You: What if you could lose the weight and feel confident again, how would your life change?

Prospect: Well I would feel like that I am worthy to attract a good partner and that would be really good.

You: Where else would your life be improved if you could lose that weight?

Prospect: Well I would have more energy and I wouldn't feel so tired during the day, I would feel better if I didn't eat garbage food all the time.

You: On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to make the change right now?

Prospect: I'm a 9 right now.

You: Perfect, well I can definitely help you. My plans start at 5 training sessions for only $49.99 each, I can schedule you in right away and have you feeling confident and healthy in no time. As a bonus for taking action today, I will create a free meal plan for you as well. Why don't we go ahead and get started?

Prospect: Ok!

The first thing to focus on is what did the second version NOT do? Well, for starters- we didn't immediately "pitch" the client.

We waited until the prospect had opened up and realized that we could solve his problem.

Most importantly is this- we LISTENED to what he had to say and responded to it in real time. There was no canned pitch ( like they used to teach us in door to door sales, puke)

Now you might not have a prospect come out and explain their feelings like that, but you can see the general line of questioning that it takes to penetrate your prospects defenses. The key is to get them talking about themselves, their problems and issues, not your product. ( at least at first)

This process is based on a sales and marketing three part formula called

Problem- Reaction- Solution

Problem-define their problem- whether they know about it or they don’t.

Reaction/Agitation- Questions used to stir up emotions, in particular any negative emotion ( build the problem in their heads)

Solution- your answer, your product or service and the accompanying benefits. This is how you remove their pain, and make their lives much better!

In general this strategy works best with inbound sales, but it can easily be adapted for cold call situations as well.

Hopefully you can see the difference between the two methods...

Instead of simply pitching your product, you now know to get them talking about their problems and pains, frustrations and desires- and THEN pitch them on your product ( as long as you can actually solve their problems of course).

After all, business can be simplified to this: solving other peoples problems ( for money of course)

Not only will they be more likely to buy what you're selling after, they will thank you for actually listening to them and not just treating them like another transaction.

Another side benefit is that they will be much less price sensitive when they realize how big their problem really is and how much better they will feel with your solution.

The key take away is to think of what the ideal end result your prospect is looking for, which your product provides. Every question you ask should be leading them towards that result.

Let me know if you have any questions.


P.S- If you feel like all salesmen and marketers are sleazy, it's most likely because you have never dealt with someone who is trained to sell in this way. It makes all the difference.


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