Monday, July 2, 2012

What Olympian Nancy Kerrigan Can Teach You About Sales

With the 2012 Summer Olympics on the horizon, lots of Americans are reflecting fondly on the games. But there have been some low points, too. Remember back in 1994 when skater Tonya Harding and her boyfriend Jeff Gillooly conspired to whack Nancy Kerrigan on the leg so she couldn't compete at the Olympic trials? The whole saga was regrettable from every angle. What I recall most vividly was Kerrigan writhing in pain after being hit on the knee, screaming "Why? Why? Why?" repeatedly.

While Nancy was asking that question in a moment of despair, sales reps should be asking that question to decision makers throughout the sales process. The Rolling Why is a communication tool used by asking the question "Why?" continually until you gain a deep understanding of the cause, reason, or purpose.

The two biggest benefits of the Rolling Why are:
* It allows you to achieve a deeper understanding of a topic, well beyond the "what."
* We humans often make false assumptions, filling in the blanks with what could be erroneous information. A frequent "Why?" will ensure you get all the facts the DM knows concerning the subject.

Tips For Executing The Rolling Why
1. Be sure you don't sound like a broken record and ask "Why?" in a serial fashion. You should mix in other questions and comments.
2. You can ask "Why?" directly or rephrase in the form of a full question when you don't understand an answer. Examples: "Could you help me understand the reason you're doing that?" "Why are you doing that?" "Why is that important to you?"
3. Be sure your questions are connected to an outcome. Don't ask "Why?" just because you can't think of another question to ask.
4. Integrate "Why?" when developing your line of questions for a sales call.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting.