Now let’s imagine you’re in that CFO’s office we wrote about in the previous post—and it’s a few days later. She talks a bit about the challenges she faces, and, again, makes mention of the fact that she’s short staffed, and having difficulty getting all the work out.
You might say: “Mary Lou, you mentioned that it’s difficult to get all the work out—all the tax returns, the financial statements, the payroll. Let me ask you this, if you were able to get the tax returns, the financial statements, the payroll, out on time without so much pressure on you, what would that mean for you?”
That’s powerful question-type number two, from Neil Packham’s research. Notice that the above question does not say, “If I helped you to get the work out” or “If you used an accounting firm like mine to help you get the work out.” It’s not about you. It’s about your prospect—she’s being asked if she got the work out on time, through whatever means, what would that mean for her?
If you pose question-type number two, and the prospect starts talking about how much better things would be for her with the problem solved, the likelihood she will buy from you increases!
For example, if she responds, “Well, then I’d be able to turn my attention to upgrading our computer system. That’s always in the back of my mind, but I never seem to have a moment to deal with it. And the CEO is demanding that upgrade.” This prospect is much more likely to buy from you because she came to this conclusion while conversing with you.
Think about that: you may have said nothing substantive about the work you do. From your business card, she knows you’re an accountant, though, and everyone knows that accountants support financial people in businesses.
So without knowing any details about your firm, or what makes it different from other accounting firms, she may become a serious prospect just because you got her thinking about how much better her life would be if she offloaded some of the burden of obligations such as taxes and financial statements. And you encouraged her to think about the larger issue, such as the upgrade in the computer system that she knows she must address.