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  • Writer's pictureBrett Zalaski

'What would you recommend?'

In my sales trainings I ask reps to imagine they are buying a suit at Jos. A. Bank or Talbots. The salesperson walks up to you, answers all your questions, asks you a bunch of questions to understand you better, takes all your measurements, then points to the entire store and says, 'All the stuff is over there, make your own decision.' How big a letdown would that be?

Now you're in a restaurant, and you're really in the mood for a sandwich, and you ask the server, 'What would you recommend?' Without hesitating, or asking you any qualifying questions, the server says, 'The filet mignon,' or 'The most expensive thing on the menu.' Whether or not that's truly their favorite, you feel immediately you're only there to be sold something to.

We do this all the time in ticket sales. We ask the buyer 5 yes/no questions, they give us generic answers, then we 'kitchen sink' them with everything we have to offer, then they ask us to 'put that in an email', which we do, then we complain that that person '...wouldn't tell me anything,' while still putting them on our pipeline, before we never hear from them again.

We are constantly letting down our fans because they want us to make a recommendation. By answering our questions and staying on the phone with us, they believe that we are an expert and they want to know what we think. Why even ask questions if you're just going to kitchen sink them?

All the questions we ask should NOT be done to build rapport, they should be done to answer three questions:

  1. How many tickets should be in their ticket package?

  2. Where should they be sitting?

  3. What ticket package should they be buying?

If you are asking questions that don't pertain to those three things, you are just trying to shove filet mignon down their throat. Or your cheapest ticket package just so they'll buy something.

Here's what's really cool...nothing bad happens when you make a recommendation.

They say 'yes' to your recommendation? You get to create urgency to get them to buy right now.

They say 'no' to your recommendation? You get to ask them 'Why not?' and you're either on to objection handling or negotiation.

I repeat...literally none of those things are a bad thing.

Now imagine you're at a restaurant and are craving a sandwich. You ask, 'What would you recommend?' The waiter asks, 'Well, what are you in the mood for? Soup? Steak? Sandwich?' And you say, 'Sandwich.' They ask, 'Are you looking for more of a light sandwich or a heavier one?' 'OHMIGOSH,' you think. 'This person really does care about me! I can't wait to hear what they recommend...'


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