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Impotent Questions - How Much Are They Costing You?

By Shamus Brown
Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Last issue we talked about what motivates people to buy something. A person or a business is motivated to buy when they perceive that a change needs to occur to fix or avoid a problem, or to enable a greater vision for their future. They buy when they believe that a product or service will bridge this gap for them.

In other words, people are most likely to buy when they are in a state of trouble, or a state of tremendous opportunity. Some people will seek you out as a seller, and tell you this. These are the easy sales. Most people do not do this however. Most people stay in their comfort zones, desiring not to get too worked up over what's not happening in their lives.

Selling then, becomes a game of stirring up people's emotions. When you become aware that you have a problem that you must solve, your emotions change. You get concerned, frustrated, upset, worried, scared, or even angry. Just how intensely you react depends upon your perception of the magnitude and the imminence of the consequences.

Consequences.

In one word, you have the key to all selling and motivation. Consequences give rise to the experiencing of emotions such as fear, despair and anger, or hope, want and excitement. And it is the mere thought of experiencing these emotions that motivates you or anyone else.

My dictionary defines a consequence as follows: -"something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition."

Once you think of taking an action, or not taking an action, and you consider the consequences of that decision, the opportunity for a strong emotion to be triggered has been setup. Whether the emotional response is a strong one or not, depends on you, and your own associations concerning a particular action.

The thought falling from the top of a 500 foot cliff, smashing onto the jagged, craggy rocks at the bottom, and becoming a bloody, gelatinous skin sack of red, pink, and purple would cause the emotion of fear in many people.

That is if you really think about it, and picture it in your mind.

What about sitting down and watching TV on a Saturday afternoon? That might trigger the emotion of boredom for some people. It might trigger relaxation, or escapism for another. To my wife it represents "being a loser". For me, it represents an opportunity to escape, and not to think about reality for just awhile.

Consequences trigger unique emotional motivations for every person. Not all are intense, and not all are enough to move someone to act, to make a decision, to buy something. The ones that do are the ones that we care about.

Asking questions that stir up consequences and uncover motivations is not a natural course of action for most people. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but I believe that it has something to do with politeness, and a cultural value that you shouldn't get too personal with people you don't know well.

Yet asking such questions is one of the most powerful things you can do as a persuader. "Isn't this manipulation?", some are of you are probably thinking. Well, yes. But is this a bad thing? You are helping people to access the emotions that will motivate them to solve their own problems. If they are to solve their problem (and solving that problem involves making a purchase), then they will do this sooner or later. By helping them with the process, you are helping them to get what they want.

How does one question then in such a persuasive manner? To effectively teach you this here would require about ten times as much space as I have already written. I can tell you a couple of things though. You probably question this way on only a rare occasion right now. Also, most of your questioning probably centers around getting factual information, that is what someone wants or doesn't want, what they have now, what they need, etc.

While useful to you, this information does not motivate your buyers. It helps you. But it does not really help your buyer. People bond with you, and want to buy from you when they believe you can help them get what they want. For this reason, too many sales calls end on a rather flat note.

Many people don't take their questioning to a deep enough level. This is why I created the Persuasive Questioning Techniques Sales Teleclass. I have been sharing these techniques with my personal one-on-one clients for the last couple of years, and I wanted to share these with more people.

In a live teleclass setting, I demonstrate precisely how this technique works. I role-play with you, and show you how to acquire this skill. You need to know what to do, and you need to practice it. It's not that difficult, but it does go against your nature a bit. I've seen great results in my clients success and my own business using these techniques.

© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

About the Author
Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at (http://Sales-Tips.industrialEGO.com/) and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at (http://www.Persuasive-Sales-Skills.com/)