Close More Deals With this One Question

Close More Deals With this One Question
This question is so crucial to you and your business that here it is, right up front, in case you do not read the rest of this article:
  • What don’t you like about my company/product/business?
If you are in a meeting trying to win business, raise capital or any other activity where you are selling something, you need to make sure you ask this question. It does not have to be precisely how it is said above, but you need to get the fundamental message across. Because you need to know about any potential landmines that will keep you from achieving your goals, so you can increase your chances of sharing the right information and inspiring action.
Simply put, the more mines you defuse, the higher the chance you have of closing business.

The question may seem counterintuitive and a subject you feel you should avoid completely. After all, why would you want to bring up “negative” topics? It may also feel awkward to ask, especially for someone starting out in business, since people have a bad relationship with feedback in general. When you begin to see feedback as the foundation for building a strong business and career, your growth will skyrocket. It can be a challenge though. Jay M. Jackman and Myra H. Strober stated that “Fears and assumptions about feedback often manifest themselves in psychologically maladaptive behaviors such as procrastination, denial, brooding, jealousy, and self-sabotage.

A major mistake is to assume that this type of feedback will automatically be shared; people will not always share this information without being prompted.

Someone may not be forthcoming with this information for many reasons, including personal and cultural. It could be that they have already made the decision in their head about something and just do not want to give feedback or it can also be because it simply never occurred to them.
Even if the meeting is perceivably going as excellent as possible, it is worth asking so you can kill any doubts that may come up later. You will not always have a chance to respond to such concerns later on. There are many variables to consider when selling (especially if you are in the enterprise business), and this will alleviate a lot of potential hard stops.
Think About It:
  • If you know they don’t like the price; now you have an opportunity to develop a better proposal.
  • If you know they don’t like a feature; now you have an opportunity to tell them about the roadmap item you didn’t plan on talking about initially.
  • If you know they don’t think you can handle their business; you can focus on the right case studies that prove you can. 

It is also essential for you to create an environment that makes it easy for people to share this type of feedback. Make sure you practice active listening (see: Become a Better Listener: Active Listening). This includes not building a rebuttal in your mind while the other person is talking and quickly jumping into a counterpoint. Let the conversation flow, make a joke or even let them know you will get back to them. Do what it takes to create the right atmosphere.

Ultimately, “What don’t you like about my company/product/business?” will help the current deal and your overall relationship with people – paying countless dividends to you and your business in the future.
What other questions do you see as vital to closing deals?