Please raise your hand if you were glad when math class was over? Were you also excited when you got out of high school or college, and never had to deal with numbers anymore?
I’m going to ask you to go back with me on a short journey. I promise you it’ll be worth it.
Do you recall what 2 to the power of 0 is? If you need to Google or Wiki it, please do. The answer will be on the next line, so don’t peek!
My first full-time gig after graduating college was teaching math to inner city children. My degree is in math and engineering, and I love to teach, so it was easy for me to do it, and I loved to teach children. (The answer by the way is “0”, but we’ll get more into that in a bit)
The program was meant to raise self-esteem, since it was meant for inner city and underprivileged children, but it ended up teaching me so much for my selling career.
We used the Socratic method of teaching. We asked only questions. The children had to discover the answer to any problem we posed. By now, you see the answer to 2 to the zero power is 1. In fact, anything to the 0 power is 1 (except 0, but I’ll save that for another day).
It is challenging enough for adults to understand why that is true, but try and see it from a 10 year olds perspective. They see 2 squared is 2×2, and 2 cubed is 2x2x2 …. but 2 to the zero? What did that even mean?
By the way, most adults do not know why the answer is 1. Most just know it is. But I had a group of 5th graders that not only could tell you the answer, but also explain why!
How does this relate to sales … especially closing more sales? The ability to ask a question is not that difficult, but the ability to ask a question at the right moment, and also listen for the response is much more challenging. People love to talk. Most love to hear themselves. How many times have you run into people that only ask how you are doing, so that they can tell you all about themselves?
Selling is no different. Even when people ask questions to prospects, they usually don’t listen closely, they are usually just waiting for their turn to talk. Raise your hand if you agree!
I had a class full of kids who HAD to listen. They needed to work together, because they knew I would only be asking questions and not giving away any answers. They had to rely on their ears, and the questions that were asked. Their emotions were churning inside of them. Good and bad. They wanted to know the answer, but knew they’d have to change their belief system a bit to understand the concept.
Do you see how this relates to selling? We want the customer to experience the same thing. You have to ask those questions that’ll get them emotionally invested. You have to have them selling themselves. They have to believe in what you are selling, and they have to convince themselves.
My class was only going to believe it the same way. What they saw was that the numbers kept doubling as you went “forward”. I never told them. They saw the pattern of 2,4,8,16,32, …. And then they realized, as you go backwards, you are just taking ½ each time.
I never told them. I actually even acted amazed that they had found that. I wanted them to convince me, and they did … with conviction! Remember that in the sales process, questions are the key. Listening is another key. And getting the customer to buy in and sell themselves is the most important part of it.
It can be done. So the next time you are about to lecture or over talk your customer, just remember 2 to the power of 0, and how questions can affect the sales process in your favor. You will be number 1, all the time!