Chapter 7 – Probe and Prosper!

“Curiosity is one of the most certain and permanent characteristics of a vigorous intellect!”
Samuel Johnson • English Lexicographer, Critic and
Conversationalist, (1709 to 1784)

41. Good-bye to Gab!

“What a smooth talker!” “She’s got the gift of gab!” Or, “He’s a born salesman!”

How many times have you heard remarks such as these? Lots? Of course. But to the best of my knowledge, businesspeople are never born! I have several friends who are obstetricians and they assure me, they have never hoisted a newborn high into the air and proudly announced to the parents, “Congratulations, you’ve just given birth…to a salesperson! An entrepreneur! No, no…it’s a business executive!”

Successful businesspeople aren’t born. They’re nurtured, developed and trained. At least the top achievers are!

Top achievers may have the ability to “gab or talk,” but their real skill is their ability to probe or question. Questions help establish rapport, uncover concerns, reveal problems and peak profits. Questions are a natural way, to get others to talk, so that you can listenand learn.

As a radio and TV talk-show host, the real success of my interviews depends not upon my speaking ability, but instead my questioning ability. Questions give me the opportunity to explore a guest’s feelings, attitudes and opinions. Exactly like your business interview.

Are your decision makers motivated?

Questions allow you to discover whether a customer has a motivated or unmotivated need. A customer with a motivated need has a problem to solve.

An unmotivated need, no matter how eloquent your presentation or beautiful your product, is unlikely to lead to The Yes. Why? Because the customer has no “pain” to diminish, problem to solve or dream to realize.

Several years ago, I was conducting a three-day business-growth workshop in Toledo, Ohio. Immediately following the conclusion of the first day’s program, I changed into my jogging clothes and hit the pavement. At the half-mile point, it began to pour! Despite this unwelcome and unexpected drenching, I continued to run, eventually seeking protection in a nearby shopping mall.

Upon entering the mall, I was greeted by a cheery representative of a major retail chain department store. She immediately inquired, “Sir, how’d you like to fill out an application for our charge card?” I assured her that I didn’t need more “plastic money!”

She then acknowledged my tired, cold and damp condition and asked, “Just for applying, you receive at no obligation…(she then reached beneath the counter, removed and held up an umbrella)…you’d find this umbrella helpful wouldn’t you?” I said, “Where do I sign?!” I had a motivated need!

Motivated needs are easily discovered through observation, a natural curiosity and especially, the question and answer process.

As a business professional, you should never sell, tell, reveal or demonstrate your product or service, until you discover and understand your prospect’s motivated needs.

© Blackman & Associates, LLC

Focus 55: Push. Pull. Play—and Profit. →

Jeff is a Hall of Fame speaker, best selling author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, please contact Sheryl Kantor at: 847.998.0688 or [email protected]. And visit to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s FREE e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include; Stop Whining! Start Selling!, (an Amazon Bestseller), and the new, revised 5th edition of the bestselling Peak Your Profits. You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults