Source: Forrest Performance Group

Sales professionals who understand the whys behind their prospect’s desires gain a competitive edge over salespeople who only understand their desires.

In order to understand the whys, you have to dig with customers. That means nothing is off limits--family situations, W2s, and even, as we’ll cover, marital disputes. Sure, that may seem intense, but I am convinced that it’s the only way to do the best thing for your clients. Let me share why.

Buyers are motivated by more than sharp kitchen designs, functional storage spaces, and good school districts. They are motivated to improve their lives. If they just wanted a product, they wouldn’t need you. They’d need an order form. They do need you though because what they really want is a home--a place to entertain guests, host family events, and build memories with their kids. X-factor sales pros (those with the competitive edge) dig beyond the what so they can understand the why. They ask questions so they can address the things that really matter to buyers, which gives them confidence in their purchase. When they uncover the whys behind their buyers’ desires, they can then sell to those deeper desires.

How deep is too deep? How personal is too personal?

Jason Forrest: How Personal Is Too Personal? from Forrest Performance Group on Vimeo.

Some people might be feeling a little uncomfortable with this and wondering, “Yeah, but what about the customers who want to be left alone and the thinkers who want to process things internally? What about those who appear closed-off and don’t want to share their mission? What do I do then? Isn’t it too pushy to pry into their deepest whys?

Think about what you look for in a doctor. Do you want someone who asks you what you came in for, writes a prescription, and then rushes to next patient or do you want one who takes the time to ask questions (and then more questions) to make sure they understand what’s going on with you? Unless you want to remain sick, you probably want the latter--one who responds to everything you say with sincere interest and gives you confidence in their leadership. This is the kind of doctor who asks about your bowel movements, your sexual activity, and your bad habits. They dig, which is exactly what makes you feel like they are working with you as a partner in resolving your issue.

If, as a salesperson, you don’t know what the consequences are if the customer doesn’t make a change, you will not have enough information to give them the best “prescription” for their needs. You won’t be able to talk about how to improve their lives and you will be forced instead to focus on the product or the price.

How personal is too personal? Let’s consider the question again with the following scenario. A couple walks in saying they need an extra bedroom. You could dive right in and talk about your three-bedroom models, but you want to know why, so you ask what they will use the extra room for. It turns out they have a newborn. Again you ask for more, saying, “What’s happening in your current home that is leading you to look for a change?”

That’s when Mrs. Prospect steps closer to you and you notice her bloodshot eyes. She reveals that the two older kids are sharing rooms and keeping each other up at night, which makes for miserable days. You take it one step further by asking her how that’s making her feel. She says that it’s making her second guess the decision of staying at home and causing tension with her husband. There it is! They don’t need another bedroom for their newborn: They need another bedroom for their marriage.

Did you really need to dig that far? Absolutely. Now you know what really brought them through your door. With that information, you can really inspire them to sign the contract and move forward even when they get cold feet or find out they have to sell their home for less than they thought.

With that perspective the question changes from “How personal is too personal” to “Is it possible to lead prospects to a solution that improves their lives if I don’t get ‘too personal?’ ”

To learn more on this topic, hear Jason speak at the 2014 IBS Super Sales Rally: Maximum Download. Sign up here.