The Socratic Sales Method

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” – Socrates

  • The Socratic Method = The Socratic Method, named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving an oppositional discussion in which the defence of one point of view is pitted against the defence of another; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer’s own point.
  • The Socratic Method Of Sales = Taking the idea that we know nothing and applying that to sales means that we need to elicit information from a prospect so as to determine their motivations, their fears, their agendas.  We want to know as much as possible about our clients and prospects so that we can make the best sales presentation possible.  The best way to find these things out is to ask them!
  • 4 Benefits Of Asking Questions In Sales:
    • Makes You Look Smart = If you just close your mouth and listen, you will be amazed what people will tell you.  They think you are the greatest conversationalist ever if you ask fact finding questions and listen to what they have to say.  It really is that simple!
    • Uncover Objections = Discover what their objections really are.
    • Authority Figure = It places you in the driver seat and increase your perceived authority.
    • Drive The Conversation = Not good at questions?  Use good questions to ease the flow of a conversation.
  • People Never Say What They Mean = Throughout the sales process you should remember that people never say what they mean (i.e. date example).  It is an inherently adversarial process and you have to be careful to ask the right questions to get the right response.  Don’t take their word for it.  Be persistent.  Dig deeper.
  • Killer Sales Questions
    • Discovery Questions (Questions That Uncover Hidden Information):

–       What are your short and long term goals?

–       If I could wave a magic wand and fix 3 things in your business, what would they be?

–       What concerns do you have?

  • Project Questions (Questions About A Project):

–       How do you normally deal with these issues?

–       What obstacles can I expect to encounter as I move forward with this process?

–       What do you see as the greatest risks in making a purchasing decision?

  • Impact Questions (Discover Who Else Is Affected By The Decision):

–       Who else do you need to consult with before making a decision?

–       Who in your organization is affected most by this problem?

–       How does this issue personally affect you?

  • Deep Impact Questions (Takes Your Questions To A Whole Other Level):

–       How Is that?

–       What do you mean by that?

–       Can you help me understand?

  • Closing Questions (Make $$$):

–       What’s the cost of not taking action right now?

–       What happens if you don’t start doing X this year?

–       What could happen if this problem worsens by X% over the next quarter?

  • Soft Sell Questions (In Case You Don’t Want To Go For The Jugular):

–       What do you enjoy most about your business?

–       What is the one thing you would do with your business if you couldn’t fail?

–       What is the craziest / funniest experience you’ve ever had in your business?

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