Assumptive Questions: The Quick Way to Improve Your Selling Skills

If you would like to instantly improve your selling skills—and so your open and close rate—you can do so by taking just a few minutes to complete the following exercise (don’t worry, it’s easy and fun!).

What you’ll do is make a list of all the common closed ended questions you ask, and then turn them into assumptive questions instead! I’ll get you started:

For the Gatekeeper:

Closed ended: “Is _______ available?” (or—“Can I talk to _______?)

Assumptive: “Hi, can you connect me with ________ please?” (or just—“Hi, ________ please.”)

Questions while qualifying:

Closed ended: “Do you ever use an outside vendor?”

Assumptive: “How often do you use outside vendors?”

Closed ended: “Are you the best person to speak to about this?”

Assumptive: “How do you get involved in this?”

Following up on emails sent or information sent:

Closed ended: “Did you get a chance to read the email I sent?”

Assumptive: “I’m sure you browsed the email I sent, question: how do our capabilities line up with what you’re looking for?”

Closing the sale:

Closed ended: “Do you have any questions?”

Assumptive: “What questions do you have?”

Closed ended: “Does this sound like something you’d like to do?”

Assumptive: “Would you like to start with the X package or the Y package?”

Based on these closed ended questions, I’ll bet you use many of them now, don’t you? Again, if you want to immediately improve, make the switch today to assumptive questions. You’ll see a change the better right away!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

“How Are You?” Ask It—Or Not?

Who do you think knows why your prospect buys?

If you have followed me for a while, you may know that my opinion on whether to ask a prospect, “How are you,” has changed over the years.

What I’ve discovered, is that asking this simple and socially accepted icebreaker is more important than you might think. Here’s why:

Selling over the phone is challenging because you don’t have all the visual cues an outside sales rep has—and uses. You can’t tell if your prospect is annoyed, resistant, bothered, or if they are willing to have a conversation with you. You just can’t read their expressions and so react to those physical cues.

That’s where asking the simple: “How are you doing today?” comes in. The seasoned inside sales rep knows that the answer to that question, and more importantly how a prospect answers it, makes up for all the cues missing from a face-to-face interaction.

Think about it: You can immediately tell if a prospect is in a hurry when they answer the phone, can’t you? You can tell by their tone of voice if they are open to communicating with you or if they are annoyed, right?

That’s why asking this simple (and accepted) question is the way to go.

What you need to do next is respond accordingly to what (and how) they respond. For example, if they tell you they’re doing well and ask how you’re doing, you must respond with, “Thanks for asking! I’m well also . . .” before going on with your opening.

If they say, “Fine, how can I help you?” then you’d better react to that as well. Something along the lines of, “I’m sure you’re busy, so I’ll be brief. The reason for the call is . . .”

I’m sure you see now how asking this simple question at the beginning of your call gives you more leverage than not asking it.

Hope this helps take the “cold” out of “cold-calling”!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

Overwhelmed With Your Goals? Do This!

Happy New Year!

Overwhelmed by all your “to-do” goals? If so, then take a tip from Brian Tracy and do this:

Make a list of your top ten goals for the year.

Think about what’s most important to you in the different areas of your life and write down ten things.

Next, prioritize that list so that the most important goal is number one.

Then: throw away the other nine goals and make a commitment to making that number one goal a reality in the next twelve months.

And once you’ve made that commitment, ask yourself what one action you can take today, right now, to begin reaching that goal.

When I heard this, my first thought was, “Yeah, but what about the other nine goals?”

He explained that despite our best intentions, most goal setting starts strong, but by March it slows down, and by the summer most—if not all—goals have been abandoned.

That’s why identifying one goal, the most important and most impactful goal, is a better way to go.

Think about how much your life will change (and the lives of your family members) if you reach this number one, most important goal.

If your goal is to become a top producer in your industry and double or triple your income, think about the impact that will have on your family. Think about buying that new home, or providing for your parents, or allowing your wife or spouse to stay home.

If your goal is to finally write that novel, think about how your life will change when you finally accomplish that this year! Think about the weight off your shoulders now that it is a reality rather than just another dream.

If your goal is to lose weight, get in shape, and get off your medication and live a longer, healthier life for yourself and your family, think about the long-term rewards achieving that goal will bring you! (And think of the consequence if you don’t.)

Whether or not you agree with Brian, I’m here to tell you that it’s more impactful for you to hit the most important goal in your life than it is to set ten and not hit any of them…

Ask yourself: how good would it be if you actually reached your most important goal in 2024?


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

Three New Year’s Resolutions for Improved Sales

2024 is just around the corner. What are your plans to make this your best year in sales ever?

Here are three things I did all those years ago that changed my sales career, and my life, forever:

#1) For the first ninety days in 2024, make a commitment to listening to at least ONE call a day. Listen for three things:

  • What you did well—do more of that!
  • What didn’t go well.
  • Ways you can change what didn’t go well (script out a better response) and then use that on your very next call.

If you follow this simple strategy, you’ll improve every single day. And that will change your career—and your results.

#2) Set a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goal. Write it down. Begin visualizing how earning all that additional income will impact your—and your family’s—lives. Invest in books/audios/YouTube videos that teach you The Law of Attraction, and begin changing your consciousness.

If you don’t change the inside, then the outside won’t change.

#3) Invest in, study, and use the scripts in this book. When I invested in CDs on better sales techniques years ago, a huge lightbulb came on and my career really took off. Whether it’s my material, or someone else’s, do yourself a favor and study and learn how to get better.

Remember, if nothing changes, then nothing changes.

I hope this has inspired you to invest the time, energy, and a little bit of money into yourself and your career.

Believe me, you’ll forever thank yourself that you did.

All the best for 2024!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

Avoid this “Ghost” of Christmas Future

Do you remember Dicken’s book, A Christmas Carol?

While reading this this December, it reminded me of an encounter I had that was a chilling reminder of the bad “Ghost of Christmas Future” I narrowly avoided all those years ago. Here’s what happened:

I was on my way to consult with a new client one day when I stopped at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. A city bus pulled up outside and a bunch of people got off.  One guy—mid 40’s, tall and lanky—started walking towards the Starbucks, and when he entered the store, I recognized him from many years before when we were both struggling inside sales reps trying to sell investments over the phone.

After I got my coffee, and he got his, he came up to me and said, “You’re Mike Brooks, right?”

“Yes” I said.

“Hey, we used to work together!” he said.

“I remember,” I said. 

He asked me what I was up to these days, and I told him I had become a consultant in inside sales, and that I was off to work with a new client.

I asked him what he was up to and this is when the chill hit me. He said he was starting a new sales job today, and then he rolled his eyes as if to say, “And this one will suck, too.”

We walked out of the store together, and said goodbye and went our separate ways. He went to wait at the next bus bench, and I got into my Mercedes and drove away. 

As I sipped my coffee and listened to the tunes in my plush car, I thought about how different our lives had turned out and wondered what happened to make them so different. As I did, I knew exactly what it was. 

During our time together, the owners of the company brought in a sales trainer, a guy named Stan Billue, to motivate us. Stan spoke to us for an hour about what makes the difference between the top money earners in sales versus all the other sales reps. 

He said that you have a choice to either commit to learning and using proven scripts and sales techniques that would double or triple your income, or you would just keep doing what you were doing (ad-libbing), and then you’d just keep getting what you had been getting. 

Stan said: “If you are willing to do what most sales reps aren’t willing to do, then soon you’ll be able to enjoy the things, the lifestyle, and the future that most sales reps will never be able to enjoy.”

I was sold. This other guy wasn’t. 

I invested in Stan’s training program, “Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone.” I committed to learning, practicing, and doing what he suggested. My sales and income soared. 

The other guy thought what Stan taught was just a bunch of old sales techniques that wouldn’t work for him.

He thought he knew better.

He didn’t believe in using scripts.

“I’ll sound like a telemarkerter,” he said. “I have to go with the flow because each prospect is different,” he persisted.

He didn’t believe in putting in the time, energy, or money to get better.

So he didn’t.

Fast forward to our Starbucks encounter. Over 20 years had passed between that Stan Billue talk, and I realized, that seminar was the moment I made the decision to change my life.

When this guy showed up that day, he was the Ghost of Christmas Past that could have become my Ghost of Christmas Future. 

My life has changed because of my commitment to investing in other sales material, and then learning and using it diligently. My life is infinitely better because I did, and I have no doubt that had I not invested, learned, and used proven selling techniques, it would have been me that was taking a bus to my next, new job.

It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.

The moral here is that you, too, can avoid the Ghost of Christmas Past from becoming your future. There are a lot of great sales training books, CD’s, and courses you and your team can take advantage of to get better. Visit my store to get some ideas.

But do something, anything, to avoid this terrible fate. You’ll be awful glad you did!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

Sales Lessons from Google Fiber

A few months ago, both AT&T, and then Google Fiber, dug up our street and lawns and bushes to install fiber Internet cable. AT&T then sent a letter announcing superfast speeds and made an offer for first time subscribers.

And then nothing from them.

Google Fiber did things differently. They also sent out a letter announcing their superfast service, and then two weeks later, they sent out another. And then another.

Three months later, they sent yet out another promotion, this time including coupons for free upgrades and equipment. Then they sent out another one, this time in a neat, glossy package.

Then a Google rep showed up out of the blue, canvassing the neighborhood. I wasn’t home, but he pitched my wife and said he’d come back.

Then Google REALLY started marketing! They sent a whole new promotion with even more coupons and free upgrades. Then they sent three more!

Then they showed up because my neighbor switched to them. I spoke to my neighbor, and they were really happy with the faster Internet.

Finally, I called Google Fiber and the next week they came out and ran cable to the side of my house where my existing Internet enters the home.

I’m now waiting for a tech to come and bring that cable into my house to take advantage of their superfast Internet speeds.

What does this teach us as sales reps? One touch isn’t enough. One voice mail isn’t enough. One email (even if you’ve spoken to someone), isn’t enough.

It takes persistence, a proven sales cadence, and many calls to finally persuade a qualified buyer to buy from you.

This week ask yourself: Are you following AT&T’s marketing efforts? Or Google Fibers?


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Have you ever observed your self-talk after you lose a sale?

Mine used to go something like this:

“Darn it! I suck at this!”

“This product will never sell!”

“The leads are trash, and I actually agree with some of my prospect’s objections!”

“I wonder what I can sell that’s easier than this?”

“Should I go back to school?”

And on and on. . .

While managers want you to jump on the next call, go from a negative experience and be positive again and “smile and dial,” you know how hard that is.

Here’s the solution: Rather than try to go from negative to positive (very hard to do), it’s better to go from negative to neutral first and then on to positive. Here’s how:

When you lose a sale or suffer a difficult call (could be a prospecting call), you hang up and find your attitude is a bit negative, simply say to yourself: “Okay. That’s okay.” And then leave it at that. Accept it. It is what it is, and you can’t change it. Just accept it and get back to neutral.

Then ask yourself what went wrong? Dissect it. What did you do wrong? Identify it. Once you have, then:

Get positive and identify what you’re going to change next time. What are you going to say or not say next time? How are you going to keep from talking past the close? (Maybe use, “Oh?” or actually get back to the script?).

By identifying what you did wrong, finding a way to do better next time, and then use the more positive approach, you can go from negative to neutral to positive and make your next call, and your next day and week, better.

And that’s what you want to do, isn’t it? Try it next time you find yourself negative.


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

The Simplest Way to Qualify

Problem: Salespeople talk too much when they finally get a prospect on the phone.

They pitch features and benefits instead of asking questions and qualifying.

They talk over their prospects and generally learn very little about what it takes to close a sale.

Result? They may get some leads out and set up some “demos or presentations,” but because they didn’t discover whether a prospect was truly a buyer and in the market at that time, their close rate is a disappointing 2 sales out of 10 full presentations….

Compare that with your own close rate or your team’s closing percentages.

Solution: Ask questions and listen more.

This may sound easy, but if you’ve listened to any of your rep’s calls (or your own), then you know how hard it is.

Here is the simplest way to do it. Adopt the word “Oh?” into your qualifying pitch and find your MUTE button.

It goes like this: Ask a qualifying question, then hit MUTE and listen.

If you get an answer that doesn’t really tell you anything, or if you feel a prospect is trying to hide the real answer, simply unmute yourself and say, “Oh?” with your voice lifting up at the end of the word. Like you’re really curious.

Then hit MUTE again and listen as your prospect reveals more. Much more.

Don’t be fooled by this. It may seem simple, but it’s hard to do. However, when you do it, you’ll move into the rarefied air of top closers. You’ll discover hidden buying motives—and you’ll discover real objections.

In short, you’ll begin to tell the buyers from the non-buyers, and that is the start of closing more sales and making more money.

Try it today.


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

How to Sell A Pencil—Or Any Product or Service

NOTE: While this article talks about using this technique as an interview question to determine what kind of sales rep you’re about to hire, it’s also a great technique for managers to use to diagnose what is wrong with reps who may not be hitting quote consistently. Simply call your reps in, one by one, and ask them:

“If I gave you a pencil and asked you to sell it, how would you go about it?”

This is one of the most basic of interview questions I use for prospective sales reps, and the answer reveals so much about their previous training, their understanding of the sales process, and ultimately about what kind of sales rep they are going to be.

So, what is the most effective way to sell a pencil? 

Let’s first look at how most sales reps go about doing it. When I’m interviewing sales reps, this is my favorite question. After letting a rep tell me how good of a closer they are, I pull out a pencil, hand it to them, and tell them to sell it to me. And off they go…

80% of sales reps start the same way – they start pitching. “This pencil is brand new, never used.  It has grade “2” lead and a bright yellow color so it’s easy to find. It comes with a built-in eraser,” etc.

Some reps can (and do!) talk about it for 5 minutes or more before they ask a question or ask for an order (more rare). As the sales rep rambles on, I begin to yawn, roll my eyes, etc. Amazingly, this just makes them talk even more!

“What’s wrong with these people?” I think.

Now let’s look at how the Top 20% go about selling a pencil. As soon as I give a top rep the pencil, they pause, and then they begin asking me questions:

“So how often do you use pencils?”

“How many do you go through in a month?”

“What other locations does your company have that use pencils, and how often do they order them?”

“What quantity do you usually order them in?”

“Where are you getting them from now?”

“Besides yourself, who’s involved in the buying decision?”

Quite a difference, isn’t it? I’ll tell you right now, I listen to hundreds of sales reps in a month, and they can easily be separated into these two groups: Those who pitch, pitch, pitch, and those who take the time to understand their prospect’s buying motives and properly qualify to understand the entire selling process. 

Now let’s see which category you fit in. When you speak with a prospect for the first time, how much of your script is focused on describing and pitching your product or service as opposed to questioning and uncovering buying motives?

If yours is like most scripts I review, then it’s filled with descriptions of what you do and how your product or service helps people. Most scripts attack the prospect with a barrage of “value statements” that turn people off and make them want to get you off the phone as quickly as possible. 

Want a better way? Then take a tip from some of the best “pencil sales reps,” and change your script and your opening so it focuses more on questioning and qualifying. Seek to discover whether or not you are actually speaking with someone who is a good fit for what you offer.

Without knowing this, you will just end up with a lot of frustration and a lot of unsold pencils at the end of the month.

If you found this article helpful, then you’ll love my Completely Updated and Revised eBook, “The Complete Book of Phone Scripts.” Now over 130 pages of powerful and effective scripts to help you easily get past the gatekeeper, set appointments, overcome objections and close more money!

Visit Here to find out why Jeffrey Gitomer, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins and many others recommend my eBook of Phone Scripts!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

4 Proven Ways to Get Better in 2023

Want to make 2023 your best year ever?

I guarantee that if you just take time to follow the four steps below, you’ll make more money this year than you ever have.

Guaranteed.

Step One: Take time to carefully script out word-for-word rebuttals to the common objections you get repeatedly. You know you should do this, but have you?

If not, do it this week!

Step Two:  Memorize your best practice responses.

Don Shula – the famous Miami Dolphin coach – once said that his players practiced, drilled and rehearsed their plays and techniques over and over again so they could internalize them and act automatically when they needed to. 

He said that football moves so fast that: “If you get into a situation and have to think about what to do next, it’s already too late.” 

Question: Can you honestly answer each objection you get with a best practice response (that works)?

If not, then record your responses onto your smart phone, and listen to them 30 to 50 times. 

Step Three: Record your calls.

You’ve heard this advice before, but are you following it?

If not, make a commitment and do it. Today.

Step Four: Be prepared to revise your rebuttals as needed. When listening to your calls, find ways to improve.

Can a rebuttal be shortened? Can you deliver it with a bit more energy? Or less energy? 

Never stop learning, critiquing and getting better. When you stop learning, you stop earning. The top professionals in any industry are always adapting, always learning, and always improving. 

You need to as well.


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated