Tell Me Where It Hurts

by Jane Garee

Psst!  You, yes YOU.   Come closer.  I have some bad news to tell you.  No one cares what you do for a living.  Think that’s bad?  I’m not finished.  They care even less how you do it.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably been guilty of telling people what you do and how it gets done.  Although you have the best of intentions because you’re so passionate about what you do, it still causes problems and is one of the fastest ways people will begin to see you as always “selling”.

So…what exactly should you do to stop this trend?  So glad you asked!

Ask, don’t prescribe

Imagine going ­to the Doctor and before you said a word she immediately pulled out her prescription pad and wrote several prescriptions.  How annoyed would you be?  She hasn’t asked you any questions and doesn’t have any idea what your problem or point of pain is.  Suggesting you take specific action without finding out what you want or need is going to be frustrating for you if not downright offensive.  Yet, business owners do this all the time.  “Hi, I’m Jane and I don’t know anything about you but you just have to hear more about my service because it is the thing you need to be healthy, wealthy and wise!  You’ll be amazed at what this can do!  Turn your life around now!  You can’t live without this!” Ad nauseum, ad nauseum.  Stop telling and you’ll stop selling.  Start asking questions and you change the energy around the whole process into something far more inviting.

Dialogue, don’t diss – I’m always trying to lose weight and it’s not a secret so I’m constantly approached by people who tell me they have the plan that will work.  If all that telling me weren’t bad enough, (when I didn’t ask to be informed) what really drives me crazy is what happens after they ask me what I’m doing currently to lose weight (and some of them don’t even ask this). No matter what my answer is, they immediately say, “I’ve got something better.”  Not only is this presumptuous, it’s also unwise from a sales perspective.  It tends to irritate people, me included.  Why?  Because I’m being told that my decision isn’t the best choice for me.  That wouldn’t be bad if I were unhappy but what if I LOVE what I’m doing and it’s working? This would be like looking at pictures of someone’s kids and then blurting out, “I have something that will make them more attractive.”  Can you imagine?  A problem or pain point hasn’t been discussed so why is a “solution” being offered? If no in-depth conversation has taken place, why do you think you know what’s best for this person?  You don’t!  So start asking questions, with the first one being, “Oh, okay.  How’s that working for you?”  If they rave about how happy they are, then you need to take a specific direction in your “selling” and it’s not telling them why they should switch to something different, meaning you.  Do that and you may as well say, “You make really bad decisions, you dummy.  But lucky you, you can now choose me!”  That’s going to get you zero respect or likability and screams, “I have an agenda and it’s about me!”  If they aren’t happy, you take another direction, which is to ask them why things aren’t going well, what do they think the problem is and so on.  People are usually open to suggestions for something that may be better for them but only after you have uncovered the problems or where the pain is.  Get people to tell you where it hurts first, and they’re far more likely to invite you to share different options they might have.  Don’t do this and you’re just shoving your stuff at people, and we all know how well that works.

What’s the moral of the story?  Ask, don’t tell. Ask, don’t sell.  Although I can’t guarantee world peace with this formula, it will go a long way to creating more peace in your world.   How would that work for you?

About Jane Garee

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
“Sales Strategist Jane Garee trains entrepreneurs and business owners around the world simple yet savvy strategies to create more contacts, convert more clients and to have more FUN while doing it. Get her FREE MP3 download, “Sales Secrets for the Entrepreneur: 4 Tips to Stop the Stress and Get To YES!” at”

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