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Custom Growth Solutions, LLC | Sandler Training | Oklahoma City, OK

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When answering questions in a sales interaction, it's extremely easy to get boxed in. You can't box yourself in asking questions, but you can certainly box yourself in by answering questions. Instead, apply Sandler Rule #12: Answer Every Question with a Question.

Think about this question you may have heard before: "Have you ever done work in our industry?"

If you're not careful, you might answer too quickly with something like, "Oh, boy, we sure have!"

However, at that point, you don't know the intent behind the question. They may respond, "Too bad, we were looking for someone who has more varied experience. We wanted new ideas from other industries."

Maybe your company has done a lot of work in their industry, but has also worked in a variety of other industries. If you answered the question too quickly, you boxed yourself in!

Instead, you should respond with something like, "I'm curious, why are you asking?" That way you can get at the intent behind the question.

Now, to be clear, Sandler Rule #12 is not about answering every single question with another question. A game from the television comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway called "Questions Only" springs to mind. In that game, comedians attempt to have an entire humorous conversation by responding to each question from the other person with a question of their own. When they answer with a statement instead of a question, they get buzzed out.

That's not what we're shooting for. Sandler Rule #12 is about getting at the underlying intent.

Unfortunately, we've been conditioned to answer questions, whether or not we know the underlying intent. Psychologically what happens is that the little kid inside of us raises his or her hand, saying, "Ooh, ooh, I know the answer to that one!"

It happens quickly, and too often can box us in when we're in sales interactions. So be sure to ask additional questions to get at the underlying intent, so you can answer the question behind the question.

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