Thursday, 8 September 2011

Unanswered questions and asking those we dare not ask - have we forgotten how to sell?

There are no answers
And the one
You already
Don’t have
Is it.

(Benjamin Dean short-zen-poems)
The above short poem and  photo of the sculpture  both are examples of a Koan.

A koan consists of a story, dialogue, question, or statement, the meaning of which cannot be understood by rational thinking but may be accessible through intuition.
 One widely known kōan is "Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?" -oral tradition attributes this to Hakuin Ekaku, 1686–1769.
The White Koan, situated directly outside the main entrance of Warwick arts centre, is a modern art sculpture designed by the artist Lilian Lijnt.
This week  within the Arts centre of the University of Warwick campus  the British Human Genetics Conference 2011 was held.  The Warwick Arts centre has been a buzz with the Scientists presenting papers, debating in seminars trying to seek the seemingly intractable challenges and wonders of DNA and RNA.

Sponsoring some of the talks, the industry held  an exhibition where the Biotech industry - suppliers, distributors, equipment manufacturers , genetic related charities, were engaged. Visitors to the stands  engeaged in conversations . Sponsorship by Nanostring Technologies and Agilent Technologies acknowledge with special thanks by BHBC.

To encourage delegates to visit the trade exhibition stands, the registration desk issued registrants with an incentive to win a HP mini Netbook. On a pocket sized card were 41 circles with the names of the exhibitor organisations.

The card read " Go and TALK to the exhibitors and collect a sticker- match up with the circles - the person with the most will win the HP netbook. Don't forget  to put your name and contact information  and registration number and hand it to the registration desk  by 1.00 on Wednesday 7 ( last day of the conference). The winner will be announced after the the  BSHG lecture  (last lecture of the conference) If there is a tie, then a draw will take place."

Various parties  were asking each other many questions on their forefront their scientific work e.g.  " Next Generation Sequencing - what's happening now?  and Genetics Clinical Research studies asking  " How can we help you".

So there was much SELLING going on whether they might have consciously acknowledged it or not.
For detailed reports, British Society for Human Genetics

Scarman House Re-fit

Meanwhile over at Scarman House just five minutes away TACK International were running their Solution Based Selling programme.

The Scarman House premises are undergoing a refurbishment programme. The refit of the coffee lounges nearly complete with upgrading of certain bedrooms going on for the next few weeks.

Below Coffee point and  the spaciouss lounge at Scarman
Scarman House refurbished lounge

The lunches are excelent both in the range and quality of food at both Scarman and Radcliffe. The dining is of a very high standard despite the large numbers that the kitchen has had to deal with. during the lunch time. 

Scarman House is also a great place  place to meet up with friends and clients.

 I was able to catch up with trainer colleague Emma Steward who been running a creativity course over in the sister building Radcliffe. So we had a good chat at the end of the day.

Also bumped into Paul Hayden who was running a coaching programme  in another part of the site.

It was good to meet  with Simon Cooper who was leading the Solution Based Selling course , Neil Parry and Sales Director of TACK International Carole Hudson. We  have not  all worked together since a job earlier in the year in Selville.

Solution Based Selling: The TACK model consists of the following elements

  • Create rapport and trust
  • Identify customer needs and priorities
  • Create and design solution 
  • Present differentiated value proposition
  • Negotiate terms and conditions
  • Implement solution, evaluate and develop.
One of significant changes from Traditional Selling to  a Solution based selling mo has been a change of style from telling and informing clients through presentation to a listening approach the client solve their problem. Nowadays Clients have  the Internet where they can access masses of information- indeed there is information overload.

So the Solution Based Seller is there to listen and ask really good questions to help the clients develop and solve their . TACK employ a drill down questioning process.

1st level

Factual- situation-circumstance

2nd level

Issue or Concern- Problem
3rd level

Net Effect- Implication- Consequence
4th level

Develop Solutions - Conclusion

Maybe with the rise of Account development and Sales Processes CRM systems and the like are not enough because we must lose sight of the sale.

Thinking back to the Koan - there are unanswered questions not only in the fields of philosophy  and genetics but also in selling. We still need to have the chutspah ask the "answerable questions"  ( see also Dave Kurlan 10 mistakes sales people make see

On the Solution Based Selling Course one delegate reminded us all about sometimes asking the questions we  dare not ask.  We had been discussing those challenging situations when business relationships has become bogged down and looking for ideas from the group as other approaches.

The delegate described how he had had a situation where he felt he had tried everything with this client with an competitor of his as the incumbent  so he asked out boldly question no 1. below. And it worked!

Such directness is risky but when you have covered the bases and you seem to be treading water sometimes that reticence -  that fear of rejection dissolves our courage . 

Perhaps we have lost our way in selling due to the drive for models , Sales processes,  CRM -  Account Management, the tools of Selling 2.0 but have got a bit too prod to ASK for THE BUSINESS.

So here are ten questions we used to be a little braver to ask again.
  1. What makes you scared of taking the decision?
  2. What do we have to do to get your business?
  3. We've been working on this for a long time now, why exactly won't you give me a chance?
  4. Can we go ahead?
  5. Do you have the authority to decide?
  6. Why is it taking so long to take the decision?
  7. So why won't you buy from us?
  8. Why don't we get some dates in the diary?
  9. What are you actually prepared to spend with us?
After any of these then just shut up. Don't eye ball but look them straight in the eyes for a few moments and then look down but keep quiet.


Paul Hayden at Scarman House ( Lounge Bar)

Simon Cooper  - Scarman House ( Lounge Bar)

Neil Parry in the training room at Scarman

No comments:

Post a Comment