1. Skilled players return the ball no matter how well-placed the shot
2. Making the other player move around the court to return shots often produces an advantage
3. The one who drops the ball gives a point to the other side.
In a sales conversation, the volley of comment/question is a natural way of engaging the other person. Opinion-based questions allow you to guide the conversation.
Questions stimulate information-collecting as well as avoiding talk-at-them presentations.
It's useful to think in pairs: comment and its companion, the question:
For example, a benefit statement followed by a question will yield more discussion than a statement alone. A question guides the conversation down the path that your research has shown the company you're pursuing could be facing.
2. “Street-level image is important to the brand identity of the companies we work with.
Has there been discussion of aligning your corporate art collection with brand identity?”
3. “Most of our work has been in the area of cost control.
Might a handheld tracking device give your production facilities some comfort that overrun risks could be addressed earlier in the cycle?”
Using comment/question tennis volleys can make all the difference between reaching agreement at the end of a conversation and being told “we’ll keep you in mind”.
Catherine Mcquaid is a Big Game Hunter in the Urban Jungle. Her clients are mid-sized business services firms who want to win consulting assignments with the Fortune 1000. Trained as a semiotician/literature critic, she runs a key account development business.
Her strategies for engaging senior executives of large companies can be used by big game hunters everywhere. She writes on Major Account Acquisition strategies.
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To contact directly: email, phone, 416.923.0877; Skype: cmquaid