This is exactly what we find when it comes to the process of making decisions. The art of supporting people in making powerful decisions is a very mysterious gift, and the people who are the best at using this gift reap the biggest rewards. We can, however, unravel some of the mystery and come to understand some of the secrets behind the decision-making process, which is also the secret to the close.
In my last column I noted that one of the most crucial parts of the sales process is the initial small talk. What I suggested was that in addition to the usual chatter, you ask a simple question, and as the person answered you can discover his hidden strategy for making decisions. To get you to that question, I recommended you ask, “how did you first get started in your (business, career, industry, etc.)?” or “what do you find most challenging about (being retired, your line of work, etc.)?”
While the person is answering, we are listening for any point at which he expresses having made a decision, and then we ask them the critical question to discovering how they think: “How did you decide that?” These are process questions that will unveil the mental steps the person follows to come to a conclusion and take action.
Let’s say the dialogue goes like this:
Me: “So Jim, I’m curious, how did you first get into the medical device business?”
Jim: “Well it’s funny you should ask, Sarano. I was at first planning to be a doctor, but when I completed college I took a summer job in medical device sales.”
Me: “Wow, that was an unexpected change. I’m curious, how did you decide to take the medical device sales job?”